Woman with dog at beach

Go Outside To Relieve Anxiety

Technology seems to be determined to deliver everything to us at the push of a button. We can shop, watch movies, eat, date, and even go on roller coasters all within the comfort of our own home. However, if life has become so easy, why do one in five women claim they suffer from anxiety all or most of the time, a figure almost double what it was two years ago? Perhaps it is because they don’t get outside often enough. Coinciding with the advent of Mental Health Awareness Week, ending on May 16, British Military Fitness has released research findings showing a direct link between outdoor exercise and the prevention of anxiety and depression. Could it be that the very technologies designed to lessen stress are really exacerbating it?

The Stats
Not only has the number of women suffering from anxiety been on the rise in the last five years, 22 percent admit being caught up in money worries and concern over the welfare of those close to them. This number has soared since 2009 when a survey by the Mental Health Foundation reported only 12 percent admitting to feelings of stress. In addition to the ladies, the charity Living with Anxiety found that over 50% of all people say they get more anxious now than they did in the past., and in a poll of 2,300 people by YouGov, almost a fifth reported feelings of anxiety about money, debt, and finance.

Anxiety
While anxiety can be a positive and even motivating emotion, constant unease can lead to panic, obsessive behaviors, and social phobias. Some sufferers resort to self-medication, including drugs, alcohol, and overeating, however, there are more healthful ways of coping.

Friends cycling

Benefits of Outdoor Exercise
Research by British Military Fitness shows a direct correlation between outdoor exercise and decreased stress levels. Of 1,000 people surveyed, 53.3 anxiety sufferers reported feeling better after spending time outdoors. Thirty-five percent said exercise boosted their moods, eased nervous feelings and lowered built up angst. According to Rob Love, managing director of BMF, “Everyone has feelings of anxiety at some point in their lives, whether it’s preparing for a job interview or managing a household. The research is encouraging, as it shows there is a recognition that being outdoors and participating in physical activity does help with both anxiety and depression.”

Get Moving
If you’re finding life becoming overwhelming, exercise may be a good way to help you unwind. Exercise releases invigorating chemicals in the body that can have a positive effect on your mood and leave you feeling more relaxed. Added bonuses include a more toned body, higher levels of energy and better sleep. Exercising to reduce stress does not have to be stressful! You don’t have to commit to hours at the gym or high impact activities. A quick stroll or just walk upstairs instead of taking the elevator are both easy ways of sneaking a little movement into your day. Leisure activities can also be a fun way to get your heart rate up. Consider taking a dance class, or playing some golf or tennis.

Are you exercising to stave off depression? Let us know how you lighten up when things get heavy. We love to hear from you!

Couple exercising in the park,.

Benefits of Outdoor Activity

The weather is warming up and the sun is shining brightly on lawns that are once again green and flowers that are in bloom. Unfortunately, most of us aren’t using this weather to our advantage. Many Americans are not participating in regular exercise and some people use the excuse that they aren’t comfortable at an indoor gym. Worry no more because Resveralife found out that taking the exercises outdoors can provide benefits that you just can’t get from an indoor gym.

Works Both Mind and Body
You know that exercise benefits your body and if you keep with a routine you are able to see physical proof that your hard work is paying off. However, you may be unaware of all of the added perks exercising outdoors provides to your mental health. A study published by the National Center for Biotechnology suggests that individuals who run outdoors expend more energy than those using a treadmill indoors. The reason for this is that when you run outdoors, you face elements that a treadmill cannot give you such as resistance from a strong wind. Exercising outdoors gives you more challenges and is more strenuous than workouts at your indoor gym and the more energy you exert, the more calories you burn, the easier it is to get in shape.

As mentioned above, the results of exercise are not limited to your outward appearance. One of the greatest outdoor workout extra is the effect it has on your mental health. Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry conducted a study using 800 participants. The results were incredibly positive. Those that exercised outdoors reported increased vitality and memory and a decreased number of negative feelings. Outdoor exercise was proved to lower feelings of anger, depression and tension while a traditional indoor workout session did not result in the same benefits. Additionally, a study in Quebec, Canada by Isabelle Dione suggests that when people exercise outdoors, they are more likely to work out for a longer period of time than those exercising indoors. The constant change of scenery and the beauty of nature eliminate the monotony of staring at your screen or display on the treadmill.

Added Benefits of Sunshine
Calcium is a necessary nutrient to build, and maintain, strong bones. Vitamin D3 is an important factor for both bone health and metabolic function and you can get plenty of D3 by taking your exercises outdoors as sunshine is great provider of vitamin D3. However, there are more benefits to receiving sunlight than getting vitamins and a possible tan. Exposure to sunlight during the day helps your body sleep better at night, increase endorphins and strengthen your immune functions.

Woman exercising in the gym.

Better Than Your Gym
A gym membership is a great thing to have during the winter when it is too cold to take your exercise outside. But once the weather warms up, working out in the great outdoors saves you money. If possible, invest in a six month gym membership and exercise outdoors whenever you have the opportunity. The only costs you incur from exercise when heading outdoors are items that  are most likely already in your home, such as a pair of well-fitting shoes, exercise gear that can handle outdoor weather, and sunscreen. You can also use your favorite mp3 player and playlist to get you more motivated outdoors.

In addition to getting your cardio in outdoors, you can also practice exercises designed to gain strength and build muscle. A park bench is a wonderful and useful item for an outdoor workout. Use it for push-ups, mountain climbers and tricep dips. A little bit of creativity with your outdoor workout not only keeps you challenged, but it provides you with the bonus of increased health from being outside. Lace up your shoes and slather on some sunscreen and enjoy a healthier, stronger way of living.