Experts recommend getting outdoors to battle winter blues

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The weather Tuesday in Indianapolis was cold and overcast, with the sun nowhere to be found.

However, that didn’t discourage Joe Kalwara from getting outside.

“I’ve got some good rain gear too, I walked yesterday in the rain,” the Meridian Kessler resident said.

His way of battling the winter blues is walking near the park by his house.

“Out for a walk today, I generally take a walk a day and also try to get a swim in at the Riviera Club, you feel a lot better as a result,” he said.

Health experts at Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Health agree that exercise can boost mood.

“Exercise is critically important, just 30 minutes a day can make all the difference in the world as far as how somebody feels,” Mental Health Expert Julie Szempruch Memmen said.

Szempruch Memmen is a registered nurse and is the Associate VP of the Midtown Mental Health Clinic.

She said seasonal depression is common this time of year.

“Lack of sunlight, lack of activity, right now we’re all exhausted from the holidays and that doesn’t help either,” she said.

She recommends putting on a coat and getting out of the house.

“Getting outside, no matter how cold and awful it feels, for a few minutes is very important,” she said.

She also said a daily dose of chocolate can actually be an anti-depressant.

“So dark chocolate daily is really what the doctor recommends,” she said.

Whether you are inside or outside, she said you can also just think about things you’re grateful for and that will help your mood.

“Those are good feelings and those bring about actual physiological changes in our body that will actually serve a benefit as far as anti-depressants,” she said.

She also recommends lights you can buy that will mimic sunlight inside your house.

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