The ‘world’s happiest exercise class’ has been created to help combat winter SAD

It’s that time of the year again. The weather is getting colder, the days are getting shorter and alfresco dining is officially over for the year. Instead, we’re preparing for dark commutes to and from work and replacing our summer dresses with layers of knitwear (though we’re not too mad about the latter). But worst of all, it’s the peak season for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

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For those who aren’t familiar with the term, SAD is a depressive disorder related to changes in seasons. It affects one in five people in the UK and as reported in Metro, its a condition triggered mainly by a lack of natural daylight in winter – though some individuals are affected by reserve SAD, which occurs in the summer season.

‘In winter SAD, reduced sunlight can cause a drop in serotonin that may trigger depression and the change in season can disrupt the balance of the body’s level of melatonin, which plays a role in sleep patterns and mood,’ explains Isabel Leming, Senior Technician at mental health clinic Smart TMS. As well as mood swings, loss of appetite, anxiety and insomnia are also symptoms of SAD.

So as the peak season for the disorder approaches, David Lloyd Club have launched a new initiative to help those of us suffering with it. Refereed to as the ‘world’s happiest exercise class’, the gym company has set up ‘Vitamin Me’ –  the first mood-enhancing workout class designed specifically to tackle SAD.

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The class is said to transport gym-goers back to those hazy heatwave days through a combination of light lamp therapy, familiar sights, sounds and smells of summer, and HIIT exercises that release good-mood endorphins – all within a 30 minute session.

Participants are greeted with a sun loungers, the scent of sun cream and sounds of waves lapping through headphones upon arrival. They’ll then undergo 15 minutes of light lamp therapy after a quick stretch, before finishing the class with a 10-minute cardio session to release those crucial endorphins.

‘When we discovered that 41% of people suffered due to the change in weather and daylight hours, we wanted to introduce a class that helped combat those feelings and so the Vitamin Me class was developed,’ said Linden Henson from David Lloyd Club Hampton.

If you’d like to sign up to a class, click here.