Is spending time indoors hurting your health? If you are like most Americans, and I confess that I am, you spend 90% of your life indoors. And the older we get, the less likely we venture outside. Exploring the great outdoors has numerous benefits to our mental/ physical health and our overall ability to stay healthy. Just think of the trapped miners in Chili when they finally got up to the surface in October of 2010. Their experience really hit me and I made a pledge to take a walk outside every day no matter what the weather! It is all glorious and wonderful doing “green exercise”. Just think of the benefits for your health, and weight loss goals!
A study from the Univ. of Essex in England studied the effects of exercising in the presence of nature and its benefits to mental health, so by being outside, your mood will lift as your exposure to light increases. The outside group was more relaxed and cheerful. They breathed a little deeper and their brain was stimulated more. Removing yourself from the controlled environment of a gym, heighten your senses, improves concentration, challenges your balance, and peps you up. Another study from Univ. of Pittsburgh showed that you might heal faster and experience less pain when you are exposed to natural light.
By exercising outside, your Vitamin D levels will go up as well. Research suggests that “D” protects you from osteoporosis, cancer, depression and heart disease. Keep in mind – the lighter your skin tone, the quicker you produce vitamin D, so wear a hat if you are out for a long time, and wear sunscreen with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide on areas you don’t want to wrinkle.
Take advantage of your lunch hour and take a walk around the block. Instead of taking a “smoke break”, take a “walk break.” You will burn more calories keeping warm and being active! It will get your muscles and blood moving, fill your body with oxygen and clear your head. This will re-charge you to be more productive in the afternoon. It sure beats a cup of coffee.
I am taking advantage of the snowfall outside my door! My friends and I are making plans to head to the ski slopes, do some cross country skiing and snowshoeing hikes in the Catskills. Talk about a fat-burning activity – you can burn up to 700 calories per hour snowshoeing and anyone can do it – just walk.
Stop hibernating and get outside! Pull on your boots and take an uplifting walk. Drink in the fresh air, explore the beauty of nature, burn some calories, feel better stay healthy and stay with your weight loss goals. It only takes a few minutes each day and the benefits are invigorating!