Use Vitamin N to Increase The Benefits of Physical Activity

Want to maximize your work-out? 

ski greenlandTake it outside…a growing body of research is showing that you will work harder, enjoy it more, de-stress, and stick with it longer if you get some Vitamin N.  Below are links to some recent websites that cite some of this recent research.

Outdoor Exercise: Health Benefits Of Working Out Outside

“Some people swear by the treadmill. Others can’t wait for the warm weather and the opportunities for outdoor exercise that come with it. But while you might think it comes down to personal preference, there’s a small body of research that suggests outdoor exercise might have even more health benefits than a trip to the gym.

The most recent study polled nearly 2,000 active participants in the 2008 Scottish Health Survey and found that outdoor physical activity had a 50 percent greater positive effect on mental health than going to the gym. The researchers, from Glasgow University, found that walking, running, biking and other outdoor activities through green space lowered stress, The Telegraph reported.”

Exercise Squared: The Benefits of Exercise and Nature by Eva M. Selhub, M.D.

“Studies are now showing that exercise compliance is more likely when it takes place outdoors. It has been found that “green” improves an individual’s mental state without their realizing it. You may notice yourself that when you do exercise outdoors, you are less likely to notice cramping, fatigue or negative thoughts.Researchers at Texas State University have in fact found that athletes’ performances improved when they were surrounded by more green space.

When you are outside, exposed to the beauty of nature, it’s variability, it’s smells and sounds, the brain automatically shifts into a positive mental state, as does the body. Individuals tend to feel a better sense of connection and are more likely to enjoy themselves in the physical activity they are doing. ”

Jogging in forest twice as good as trip to gym for mental health

“”I wasn’t surprised by the findings that exercise in natural environments is good for your mental health, but I was surprised by just how much better it is for your mental health to exercise in a green place like a forest, than in other places like the gym. “The message to doctors, planners and policy makers is that these places need protecting and promoting.”

He added that taking a decision to exercise in a natural environment once a week could be enough to gain some benefit, and any additional use could have a bigger effect.” The study revealed that local streets were most commonly used for physical activity, followed by the home or garden.”

An Excuse to Abandon the Treadmill by Sarah Toland

“Research shows that exercising outdoors lowers stress levels far more effectively than at a gym. And if you’ve ever felt exhilarated after a snow-whipping run or a cold ski, you know this kind of exercise can be addictive – another reason why people who work out outside are more likely to stick with it than gym-goers. “Being outdoors motivates us to do activities regularly,” says lead researcher Michael Depledge. Outdoor exercise can burn up to 20 percent more calories than indoor exercise because your body has to fight to stay stable on uneven ground and maintain its temperature in all kinds of weather. Most people also get a harder workout in nature, since their focus is on the effort, not a TV, an iPhone, or another distraction used to ease gym boredom. One Harvard study even found that outdoor exercise cuts heart disease by boosting vitamin D levels.”

7 Reasons to Take Your Workout Outside By Cristina Goyanes

You’ll Go for Longer

“Leave the magazines at home and head out for an exploratory run through your ‘hood. You’ll be surprised how much faster time travels when you aren’t in the gym. “Changing your routine, seeing new faces, taking in the scenic shrubbery—this all helps combat workout boredom,” says Robert Gotlin, DO, director of the Orthopedic and Sports Rehabilitation at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City. To top it off, a grueling workout may not seem so, er, grueling. “When you’re distracted by the environment, you’re less aware of your effort, such as how far you’ve run or how much your quads burn.” Heck, you might even double your workout to 60 minutes without even knowing it. ”

Health Benefits of Being Outdoors by Richard Louv

“Based on research and firsthand experience, Erickson says that time spent in nature “may be one of the best and most accessible natural stress-busters any individual or family could find.””

Green Exercise: Complementary Roles of Nature, Exercise and Diet in Physical and Emotional Well-Being and Implications for Public Health Policy by Jules Pretty, Murray Griffin, Martin Sellens, and Chris Pretty

“A growing number of researchers from many disciplines are now showing that contacts with the natural world can benefit mental and physical health. The contexts include the effectiveness of wildernesses in contributing to spiritually beneficial recreation and leisure experiences; the healing value of hospital gardens or of nature views from hospital or gaol windows; the benefits of community gardens and nature areas in urban settlements; and the psychological benefits of companion animals and pets; and the benefits of consuming distinctive local foods coming from systems with known positive effects on nature and rural communities.”

In the Green of Health: Just 5 Minutes of ‘Green Exercise’ Optimal for Good Mental Health

“The answer is likely to please people in a society with much to do but little time to do it: Just five minutes of exercise in a park, working in a backyard garden, on a nature trail, or other green space will benefit mental health.”

Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Syndrome (Richard Louv’s book that started a movement to get kids back outside and into nature)

Children and Nature Network (has lots of info about the importance of getting children outdoors)

The Nature Principle  (Richard Louv’s latest book on human restoration through nature)

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