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We all know that aerobic exercise is good for us. The question is what are some different types and how do they really benefit the body? Today I will discuss and give some reasons hiking is good for you.
- Improved cardio-respiratory fitness (heart, lungs, blood vessels)
- Improved muscular fitness
- Lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke
- Lower risk of high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes
- Lower risk of high cholesterol and triglycerides
Living in the pacific Northwest, we have hiking trails in abundance. But I can recall that over the years, and the many moved we’ve endured, finding a wildlife habitat was a first priority. I have taken the kids on walks and hikes through those wildlife habitats since they were born! There is just something amazing about sharing space with all of God’s creatures. The kids have aways loved to collect items as we walk, and they would place them in a journal. It made the hike, fun and educational.
Children benefit from hiking the same as us adults do, and it can be used as a great bonding time. Here are five specific benefits that kids will reap when enjoying a hike or any aerobic activities:
- Improved cardiovascular, respiratory and muscular fitness
- Stronger bone health
- Exercise lessens the chance of becoming overweight
- Reduces the chance of developing risk factors for heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes
- Possibly reduce the risk of depression. Exercise releases feel good hormones, resulting in less stress
- Mental alertness improves, resulting in kids being more ready to learn in school
- Get moving and kids are sleeping better at night
Those are great reasons for all of us to partake in some hiking. Get outdoors and enjoy Mother Nature!
I have been researching for options on treating anxiety naturally, and I came back with three common suggestions: eat, meditate and exercise. So what could that refer to in each of those categories? Let us explore that.
Think of a time you felt anxious. Was it a sleepless night spent worrying about an issue? Was it a time when you slipped and fell? Either of those can place your body into a brief state of anxiety, which goes away shortly after the event. This is short term anxiety. However for millions of people, that anxiety can be long term. This sometimes disabling disorder, is known as General Anxiety Disorder (GAD).
How can we reduce the amount of anxiety felt or interrupting our lives? Doctors can prescribe medication and recommend cognitive-behavioral therapy. In a time where some medications can be over prescribed or over used, searching for alternatives is important. You can make a few lifestyle changes, diet, meditation, and exercise, scientifically proven procedures, which allow you to treat anxiety for yourself. I think that these lifestyle changes along with cognitive-behavioral therapy, will give you the greatest relief from anxiety.
Eat a healthy diet. Studies have shown that those who eat a diet high in processed, fast food that include sugary sweets, junk food, caffeine and beer, are more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety. Those who eat a more healthy diet of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, meat and fish, tend to experience less depression and anxiety. I have read that adding foods such as nuts, poultry, oats, and some dairy, increase the serotonin levels in the brain. Each of these foods contains tryptophan, which helps the body produce serotonin. According to Wikipedia.com, “Biochemically derived from tryptophan, serotonin is primarily found in the gastrointestinal tract (GI tract), blood platelets, and the central nervous system (CNS) of animals, including humans. It is popularly thought to be a contributor to feelings of well-being and happiness.” So it only makes sense to eat foods that will naturally help you feel better, right?
Meditate regularly. People who worry a lot have increased reactivity in the brain, that makes regulating emotions, such as fear, a little harder. According to a study conducted by Stanford University, practicing mindfulness can physically reduce neurons in the fear-triggering part of the brain. As an anxious person, you might feel it is hard to sit still and meditate. Many thoughts race through the mind, and that can make the anxiety seem overwhelming. Mindfulness teaches you how to work with the various stressful situations. It takes practice, and that’s why making it a regular habit, results in the best results. It won’t change your anxious feelings over night, but each time you sit and focus on your breathe and calm your body, you are teaching yourself how to self-regulate. When you are placed in a stressful situation, you will be mindful of how your body is reacting and focus on calming those reactive triggers. Meditation works, it just takes regular practice.
Regular exercise can reduce anxiety. I read once that bad anxiety needs good treatment. What could be better than exercise, coupled with meditation and a healthy diet? Just like the healthy diet, studies show that exercise is very effective at reducing fatigue, improving alertness and concentration. Exercise enhances the brains overall cognitive function. This can be especially helpful when stress has depleted your energy or ability to concentrate.
Stress affects the brain, with its many nerve connections, making the rest of the body feel the impact as well. If your body feels better, so does your mind. Exercise and other physical activity produce endorphins, the chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers. Increasing endorphins improve the ability to sleep, which in turn reduces stress.
As we can see, research indicates that you may eat, meditate and exercise your way to a calmer, more relaxed life.
Are you too pooped to play? Do you find yourself running out of energy before the day is over? Well if you are, let’s talk about a couple natural ways to boost your energy and get you through your day.
The demands of work, school, family, money worries, children, and life in general, can drain you of your energy before the day is complete. Start your boost by getting a good nights sleep each day. Getting 7-8 hours per night can allow your body to recover from that constant stress of everyday life, giving you a cache of energy for the end of the day.
The next quick boost in your energy cache can come from exercise. Yes, I know you don’t feel like doing it any activity when your stressed and tired, but getting exercise into your day is key! When you exercise, you add oxygen and nutrients into your bloodstream, which gets your body pumping and makes you feel more energetic. Your workout doesn’t have to be intense to feel the effect either. Get up, take a walk, ride your bike. Get outside to get that movement in too. The sunlight stimulates your body’s production of Vitamin D, and just makes you feel good. As I’ve discussed before, the act of exercising is great for your brain too. Get the blood pumping, lungs moving, and feel the release of endorphins in the brain- boosting your energy and alertness!
That energy boost can be enhanced with the right nutrients too.Keep your diet rich in foods that contains omega 3, magnesium, iron, protein, vitamin D, and B vitamins. Make sure those foods are whole foods and not processed. The carbohydrates in most processed energy snacks counter act the benefits and slow you down. Start your day with a healthy breakfast, and maintain your blood sugar levels through out the day by having smart snacks or mini meals. And don’t forget to drink plenty of water. Stay hydrated, or you can feel sluggish.
Beat the ‘Too pooped to play’ feeling and get moving. Use these quick bits of advice and get outside and go for a walk, and enjoy the sunshine!
Are you emotional, stressed, or depressed? How would you feel if I tell you to go take a jog? Will that make you more emotional, stressed or depressed? I sure hope not, because the link between the lack of exercise and emotional problems is real. Maybe a single jog around the block can help a little, but adding a regular exercise program will give you the most beneficial results for your mind and body.
Doctors have always encouraged staying physically active. Well have you ever wondered why? Not only does exercise help your physical condition and fight disease, it is also considered vital for maintaining mental fitness, and it can reduce stress. Studies show that it is very effective at reducing fatigue, improving alertness and concentration. Exercise is vital for enhancing ones overall cognitive function as well. This can be especially helpful when stress has depleted your energy or ability to concentrate. So if you feel tired and make that excuse to not exercise, you could be hurting yourself more!
Stress can directly affect the brain, because the brain has many nerve connections. Those nerve connections make the rest of the body feel the impact as well. So it stands to reason that if your body feels better, so does your mind. Exercise and other physical activity produce endorphins. Endorphins are chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers and also improve the ability to sleep, which in turn reduces stress. Meditation, acupuncture, massage therapy, and even breathing deeply can cause your body to produce endorphins too. But a workout of low to moderate intensity makes you feel energized and healthy. I have long heard of a phrase called ‘runners high’, but until recent did not understand the medical or scientific connection. Personally, taking a run has always been a tremendous source of mind clearing peace. That jog or run has been triggering the release of endorphins, and Harvard researchers even claim that the effects of exercise last longer than anti-depressant medications too.
Scientific studies have shown that regular participation in aerobic exercise can decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilize mood, improve sleep, and improve self-esteem. Even five minutes of aerobic exercise can stimulate anti-anxiety effects. So get ready to start the new year with a plan to improve your whole body, reduce stress, and implement a regular exercise program. No excuses! Even the American Psychological Association supports the idea! So go take that jog!