Tag Archives: stress reduction

The Proven Benefits of Outdoor Exercise

Inspiration from the iGnite Blog Article Archives

Aug14_2016

Point to Ponder:
Are you spending enough time exercising outdoors?

Kathleen Parker

by Kathleen Parker

Yes…it is HOT outside, at least before this amazing cool and wet front blew in! WHEW! Despite the actual temperature, it is always a great idea to exercise outdoors. I don’t only think this because I prefer outdoor exercise and it is iGnite’s philosophy, but if you happen to be a someone who needs actual evidence, I have listed below the proven benefits of exercising in nature, which are all undeniably awesome!

  1. It’s More Challenging and More Effective – Studies found that outdoor running/walking is more strenuous than the indoor treadmill/eliptical. In studies comparing the exertion of running on a treadmill and the exertion of running outside, treadmill runners expended less energy to cover the same distance as those striding outside, primarily because indoor exercisers face no wind resistance or changes in terrain, no matter how subtle. The machines are obviously doing some of the work for you. When you run outside, YOU provide the movement. Running outside increases your work load from 2% to 10%!!!! The same dynamics apply to cycling: Where wind drag can result in much greater energy demands than going the same distance on a stationary bike. That means if you have limited time and want to burn as many calories as possible, you should head outside instead of the gym!
  2. It Improves Your Mood – In a number of recent studies, volunteers have been asked to go for two walks for the same time or distance — one inside on a treadmill and one outdoors. In all of the studies, the volunteers reported more enjoyment outdoors, scored significantly higher on measures of vitality, enthusiasm, pleasure and self-esteem and lower on tension, depression and fatigue after they walked outside! And of course exposure to direct sunlight greatly affects your mood.
  3. You’ll Do it More Often, for Longer and Be More Active – In another study, those who exercised outside exercised longer and more often than those working out indoors, and were significantly more physically active than those who exercised indoors!
  4. Stress Reduction – Studies have found that people have lower blood levels of cortisol, a hormone related to stress, after exerting themselves outside as compared to inside! And, green space raises serotonin levels.

What I am definitely not recommending is exercising outdoors in the heat of the day. We should all consider the intense heat and it’s dangerous effects. However, rising early to beat the heat while also focusing on proper hydration makes for the absolute best opportunity to enjoy the amazing benefits of exercise under the blue sky and amongst the trees and birds. There’s nothing better for your body, mind and spirit!


Action Item:
Rise early to beat the heat, and stay proper hydrated so you can experience the amazing benefits of exercise in nature.


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How to Maximize Nature’s Body Benefits

maximize_natures_benefits

by Kathleen Parker

by Kathleen Parker

Given that we are so big on exercising outdoors, here are 4 ways to maximize nature’s benefits:

  1. GET OUTSIDE! People who get outdoors have lower BMI’s (meaning they have less body fat) than those who don’t, according to a report in PLOS One. Getting outdoors also has a strong stabilizing effect on your body clock, which regulates metabolism and energy levels.
  2. MAKE QUICKY JAUNTS ALL DAY: A mere five minutes of being in fresh air can improve your mood and self-esteem, according to a study in Environmental Science and Technology. Your goal is to take a mini blue-sky break 3 to 4 times a day. Just looking at natural landscapes increases activity in the areas of the brain that control happy memories and stress reduction, found researchers from Chonnam University.
  3. LET YOURSELF FEEL CHILLY! As soon as you start to feel the cold, the weight-loss perks of outdoor time kick in!  Temperatures of 63 degrees and lower will both increase activity in brown fat (the “good” calorie-burning kind), and have been linked to reductions in total body fat, according to research from Japan and the Netherlands.
  4. EXERCISE IN FRESH AIR! Nature can motivate! When you exercise outdoors, you tend to work harder and feel more powerful than when you work out inside, a study in Psychology of Sports and Exercise reports. Your immunity gets a boost from outdoor activity, too: walking in wooded areas can even increase the function of cancer-fighting white blood cells, according to research from the Nippon Medical School in Tokyo.

I hope to see you this week, and if not, be sure to get outdoors!

Keep moving,
Kathleen

Source: 
Ketchiff, Mirel. “Live Healthy: Slim, Happy, Calm,” Shape.

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Silence Has Substance

Rest

I’ve begun to realize that you can listen to silence and learn from it. It has a quality and a dimension all its own.
-Chaim Potok, The Chosen

Here we go! The extra high speed season has arrived. Very soon we’ll have parties to attend, gifts to buy and meals to prepare. I must admit I do love this time of year, as Christmas is a time of celebration that fortunately revolves around friends and family. Unfortunately, I have yet to discover how to avoid the chaotic and frantic mode that I take full responsibility of putting myself in. In other words, I epitomize the definition of insanity (doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting a different result), as I have great intentions of living a harmonious holiday, yet year after year I find myself repeating the same behaviors but expecting a different result (ugh!). It is for this reason that I continuously seek inspiration and wisdom about ways to remain centered without the unnecessary and unwanted stress of overspending and overdoing, which is contrary to the season I believe in.

Thankfully, this morning while attending a Sunday School class I received the inspiration I was looking for. It is not a new or foreign concept to you or I, but the timing and delivery was spot on. I’ll put it in one delicious word: Savasana, which is great on a daily basis but is dire during the holidays when emotions naturally run high.

I know what you are thinking —  Sure Neissa, a daily Savasana sounds great (in theory), but the reality is that I don’t have time for it and if I do enjoy a daily Savasana, I’ll fall asleep!  Yes, in theory, a daily and reflective Savasana would be ideal, however just lying down in “dead body pose” is not the goal. The objective is to find time each day for your body to be inactive and your mind to be silent so that your spirit can be rejuvenated from the inside out.

So, what does this mean? It means sitting on your front porch, lying in a bubble bath, sitting on a park bench, or hiding in a closet (from your kids). It can be anywhere for any amount of time, just as long as it’s in total silence and you can catch your breath and get re-centered. And, unlike what we are trained to think, inactivity can be productive and silence definitely has substance –especially during the fast-paced holiday season.

Finally, I understand that the idea of enjoying a still and silent moment each day sounds simple, however it goes against everything our culture tells us. Therefore, if one minute of inactivity and silence feels  uncomfortable, know you are in good company. Building endurance for silence and stillness is no different than building endurance for activity. It can be painful and take time, but is well worth it!

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Point To Ponder:
Do you ever give yourself a still and silent moment?

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Action Item:
Spend time every day to be still and silent.

To your health,

Neissa

About Neissa

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