Second Nature Care Blog

Move Your Way to a Better Mood

[fa icon="calendar'] Jan 18, 2017 5:00:00 AM / by Winter Ninivaggi

Get moving to get happy!Hey, this is Winter. For Christmas this year I got a fitbit. I don't exercise often, but wanted to start paying more attention to my physical health, but one of the features I was excited about was the sleep tracking aspect of the device. Every morning I typically find it extremely difficult to wake up and am often very very achey. Although I was receiving the correct amount of hours, I felt like I really wasn t sleeping well. So with my new FitBit I payed very close attention to the sleep I was getting and sure enough it said I was spending hours awake/restless. What good is 8 hours of sleep when you have spent nearly half of it awake or tossing around?

This past month I starting moving into a new place and have been doubling, even tripling the amount of steps I take a day from carrying things up and down the stairs to my third-floor place. I thought I would be more tired throughout the day than ever, but it was the exact opposite. For the past week I have been full of energy, running around and waking up much earlier feeling more rested. And sure enough my FitBit tells me I have been sleeping much more restfully.

The largest ever "smartphone based" study conducted by researchers at the University of Cambridge and the University of Essex has examined the relationship between physical activity and happiness. They demonstrated how smartphones could be used to collect large-scale data to examine psychological, behavioral and health related phenomena.

The study was based on the reports from over 10,000 participants finding that physical activity, whether or not it is classified as exercise, can have a positive effect on emotional well-being.

The data gathered found that regardless of baseline levels of happiness, modest levels of physical activity can increase a persons reported emotional well-being. People reported being happier when  they were physically active. 

For the new study, data on physical activity was passively gathered from smartphone accelerometers, and participants were also sent a short survey at two random intervals throughout the day which asked questions about their emotional state. Users reported their emotional state on a grid, based on how positive or negative, and how energetic or sleepy, they were feeling. Users were also asked a handful of questions about how their mood compared to normal.

The data collected showed that happier people tended to be more physically active in general, but regardless of original levels of happiness, it was increased with activity. You do not need to go to the gym 7 days a week to start, but slowly increasing your physical activity levels slightly will have a positive effect on your mood.

My fitness tracker is a great way for me to see my activity for the day and a helpful tool in understanding why I feel a certain way. I definitely think there is a correlation between my chipper energetic move and the drastic increase in physical activity. 

You are right Winter! My daughter got a fitbit too and she had the same sleep and mood issues. Her sleep and mood have dramatically improved with her fitbit. Even if you can't swing the price of a fitbit right now - just start moving and make one dietary improvement. Add one glass of filtered water per day or choose a fun whole food to create a new dish with or don't eat any foods with more than 3 grams of sugar. Dr. G.

Exercise offers significant benefits in the treatment of mental illness and mood disorders. Exercise matches the benefits achieved with medications for depression and helps to prevent relapses in the long term. Pregnant women, people with HIV and patients with heart failure reduced their depression and reduced their mortality using exercise. Second Nature supports healthy exercise with physical assessment, clear recommendations and motivational tools. We discuss exercise and create a go to plan for every patient.

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Winter Ninivaggi

Written by Winter Ninivaggi

Isadora Guggenheim, ND, RN, MS, CNS LMT, owner of Second Nature Naturopathic Care, LLC
For all appointments: Tel: 845 358-8385 Fax: 845 358-2963