June is Celebrate the Great Outdoors month and June 15th was Nature Photography Day. These are just one of the many great reasons to get outside to exercise and enjoy nature.
I’ve blogged a great deal about exercise and the outdoors a great deal – when I reported back about food-exercise-biofeedback from the ADAA conference and nature and calm in Yosemite.
Here is some very recent research on some more great health benefits to motivate you!
(1) Improved mood and better memory
A recent paper and titled Interacting with nature improves cognition and affect for individuals with depression and published in the Journal of Affective Disorders found that something as simple and easy as 50 minute walk in the park improved cognition and mood.
(2) Improved sleep and reduction in hot flashes in menopausal women
Another recent paper titled Sleep quality and aerobic training among menopausal women-A randomized controlled trial and published in the Finnish Journal Maturitas found that aerobic training for 6 months may improve sleep quality and reduce hot flushes among symptomatic menopausal women.
(3) Less social anxiety and depression
This recent paper titled A Randomized Trial of MBSR Versus Aerobic Exercise for Social Anxiety Disorder and published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology found that both mindfulness-based stress reduction and aerobic exercise “were associated with reductions in social anxiety and depression and increases in subjective well-being”.
Exercising has always been a big part of my life and I feel really flat when I don’t exercise. I grew up in a tennis family and played tennis for years and then switched to squash (similar to the US racket ball) when I got to high-school. In my 20s and 30s I did a lot of 5K and 10K runs, trail running and a few half-marathons – all in the beautiful Colorado mountains. I actually met my wonderful husband rock-climbing and we spent many fun years rock-climbing, ice-climbing and mountaineering!
These days we love to windsurf, hike and mountain bike in the summer. In the winter I telemark ski and Brad does snowboarding.
So I encourage you to get outside to celebrate the great outdoors, have fun exercising and take some beautiful photos.
At your next social event you’ll be chatty, calm and happy, will remember everyone’s name and you won’t be having hot-flashes! And you’ll come home and have a wonderful deep restful sleep.
Have fun and please share what you love to do for exercise now and what you loved to do as a child.