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Get Outside to Thrive

I just know as a Thriver you’re not part of the 80% of Americans who do not get the recommended weekly dose of physical activity the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. No way! Unless of course you don’t know how much that is. The CDC suggests at least 150 minutes of physical activity and muscle-strengthening exercises twice a week. Now that you know, how are you doing with this advice?

To add to this proposal there is mounting evidence to suggest getting outside in nature, green space, helps ones mental health in a variety of ways. A new study, which was published in “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Mr. Bratman and his collaborators decided to closely scrutinize what effect a walk might have on a person’s tendency to brood. The(se) results “strongly suggest that getting out into natural environments” could be an easy and almost immediate way to improve moods for city dwellers, Mr. Bratman said.” Mr. Bratman is a graduate student at the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources at Stanford University.

More support comes from the July 1, 2010 report from Harvard Health Letter which brings us this: “Researchers at the University of Essex in England are advancing the notion that exercising in the presence of nature has added benefit, particularly for mental health. Their investigations into “green exercise,” as they are calling it, dovetails with research showing benefits from living in proximity to green, open spaces.

In 2010 the English scientists reported results from a meta-analysis of their own studies that showed just five minutes of green exercise resulted in improvements in self-esteem and mood.”
The CDC also tells us, “Regular physical activity can help keep your thinking, learning, and judgment skills sharp as you age. It can also reduce your risk of depression and may help you sleep better. Research has shown that doing aerobic or a mix of aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities 3 to 5 times a week for 30 to 60 minutes can give you these mental health benefits. Some scientific evidence has also shown that even lower levels of physical activity can be beneficial.”

A client recently complained that there was “all this hype about exercise but I do the workout tape and I don’t feel any better at the end of it! It’s not a cure-all that everyone says it is!” I would suggest to you the same thing I suggested to this client; there is no cure-all for anything but if a simple walk outside or even in a room that allows you to look outside can translate to so many benefits I sincerely hope you are striving to meet your daily dose of it!

Some simple ways to start if you’ve not already: park your car as far away from the entrance to the store, work or destination as you can to ensure a few extra minutes of outside time, walk to work or train/bus if possible, join a nature walk at the local nature center or head to the local high school where there are bound to be others walking on the track in the late afternoon and early morning. Happy outside time to you!

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