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Take Your Medicine
Photo: Mateusz Kapciak
Taking medicine is one of my least favorite things to do. I hate swallowing pills. There are the huge, “horse pill” type that seem just too big to fit down a human throat. Then there are the tiny ones that start to dissolve before they get where they’re going. As necessary as medicine is at times, I’d rather avoid it if I can, so when I spotted some information on some recent studies my interest was piqued.

With the arrival of winter, our tendency to catch colds and flu increases. I read an article recently that pointed out that simple hand washing with soap and water is actually more useful in controlling the spread of respiratory viruses than drugs, both the common cold as well as the more serious pandemic strains. It is recommended that we wash our hands frequently during the day and this will significantly reduce our chances of catching those unwanted colds and flues.

For me, winter has sometimes been the time when those “winter blues” set in. Too many cloudy days in a row really can have an effect on me. Another study I read, concluded that exercise can actually be as effective as drugs in combating depression.

Exercise and Depression

It has long been thought that exercise can ease symptoms of depression, but a recent study has gone further to confirm that finding. Participants were divided into four groups; those who engaged in exercise in a group setting, those who exercised at home, those taking antidepressants and those taking a placebo. Those exercising in a group setting showed about the same level of improvement as those taking antidepressants. It was still very effective to exercise at home, being only slightly less beneficial, probably only because we tend to be more motivated by a group.

Especially for those who suffer from occasional symptoms of depression or just find the winter months to be a particularly gloomy time of year, exercise just might be exactly the right medicine. So don’t be a couch potato this winter. Join an exercise group or ask a friend to become your walking partner and see if your mood doesn’t brighten.

Now that’s medicine that I can take with a smile!

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By Leslie Olin. Copyright © 2008 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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