Smash the Sad’s with a Sweat this Season

May 3, 2023

Winter can be tough – cold mornings, dark evenings and the iconic Tasmanian fog. For many, these conditions can result in increased fatigue, depression and isolation.

Mental health disorders are not uncommon during these colder months. According to a study by the British Journal of Sports Medicine, one in eight people worldwide are affected by a mental health disorder.

This poses the question of how can we beat the winter blues?

Chris Croft, director of ATLAS Mental Health Clinic in Launceston, says the clinic preaches the use of exercise as a way to treat and/or manage a lot of conditions.

“A recent study from the University of South Australia found that exercise can be up to 1.5 times more effective at managing depressive symptoms than conventional medications and therapy”, Croft said.

Chris went on to explain the countless other benefits of running and regular exercise.

“Running and resistance training can increase brain plasticity and overall wellbeing, anxiety can be reduced by 30 minutes of jogging 3 times per week and exercising regularly enhances emotional stability, reducing mood swings.”

Launceston local and registered counsellor, Amelia Padgett, sympathised with Tasmanians.

“In Tasmania, in the depths of winter, it can be really hard to want to exercise. Finding a friend to move with is a great way to hold ourselves accountable, joining a sporting team or a run group can also tap into our need for social connection during the darker months.”  

Padgett continued, “it doesn’t have to take long, 30 mins inclusive of warm up and getting yourself to break a sweat is enough to support your psychological well-being.”

“As mental health professionals, we know now that regular movement is as important as taking medications and engaging in talk therapy with regards to managing diagnosed mental illness. It’s important to use all the tools available to us to give ourselves the best chance.”

Not only is running the world’s most inclusive sport, it also meets our needs of connection, movement and can create a sense of achievement.

Rug up, grab some mates and move your body as much as you can during the winter period. Do it for yourself, your friends and your community.   If you can’t run, walking is the next best thing.

The McGrath Launceston Running Festival is on Sunday June 11 and includes four events;

  • Think Big Half Marathon
  • Launceston 10km
  • 5km Run/Walk
  • Liv-eat Mile

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May 31 & June 1, 2025