Tag Archives: nature

Sounds of nature help us to relax – Study

I am a great believer in enjoying the outdoors. I ride my bike outdoors instead of opting for the exercise bike at the health club. Ditto, walking. I walk a lot outside rather than on the treadmill. So, I was very happy to run across this study from the Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS).

The gentle burbling of a brook, or the sound of the wind in the trees can physically change our mind and bodily systems, helping us to relax. New research explains how, for the first time.

dscf6189

Researchers at BSMS found that playing ‘natural sounds’ affected the bodily systems that control the flight-or-fright and rest-digest autonomic nervous systems, with associated effects in the resting activity of the brain. While naturalistic sounds and ‘green’ environments have frequently been linked with promoting relaxation and well being, until now there has been no scientific consensus as to how these effects come about. The study has been published in Scientific Reports. Continue reading

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Exercise, nature, nature sounds, relaxation

The Best TV Show To Feel Joy, Amazement And Awe

This is so nice to learn, both on its own and in connection with nature itself for me. As I have written more than once one of my great pleasures riding my bike on the Chicago Lakefront is being out in nature.

IMG_1661.jpg

This was a sunrise I witnessed not long ago.

Tony

Our Better Health

The study compared TV show genres to see which makes people happiest.

Watching nature documentaries — like being out in nature itself — can help you feel happier.

The survey of 7,500 people around the world found they felt happier after viewing clips from BBC nature documentaries.

The study compared watching the documentary to the news or a popular drama show.

People reported that after viewing the nature documentary they felt more:

  • joy,
  • amazement,
  • awe,
  • and curiosity.

At the same time it reduced feelings of anger, tiredness and stress.

Professor Dacher Keltner, who teamed up with the BBC for the study, said:

“I have long believed that nature and viewing sublime and beautiful nature in painting, film and video shifts how we look at the world, and humbles us, brings into focus our core goals, diminishes the petty voice of the self and strengthens our nervous system.
When the BBC…

View original post 107 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under happiness, nature, relaxation, stress, stress reduction

More Exposure to Vegetation Linked with Lower Mortality in Women

I don’t know if that headline surprises you, but it doesn’t surprise me. As a daily bicycle rider, I get to enjoy the outdoors regularly and know that the setting benefits me as much as pedaling the bike.

Women in the U.S. who live in homes surrounded by more vegetation appear to have significantly lower mortality rates than those who live in areas with less vegetation, according to a new study from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. The study found that women who lived in the greenest surroundings had a 12% lower overall mortality rate than those living in homes in the least green areas.

nature-17941-18400-hd-wallpapers.jpg

The study suggests several mechanisms that might be at play in the link between greenness and mortality. Improved mental health, measured through lower levels of depression, was estimated to explain nearly 30% of the benefit from living around greater vegetation. Increased opportunities for social engagement, higher physical activity, and lower exposure to air pollution may also play an important role, the authors said.

The study was published online April 14, 2016 in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. The paper is available here.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under nature, outdoor exercise

Noise, Nature, and Stress

I love the ideas here. We are all subject to stresses on a daily basis. Here are some ways to reclaim your stability.

brain-sleep-wake-neurosciencenews-public

I have written so many posts on stress, relaxation and walking that I can’t list them all. Please type any of those words into the s e a r c h box on the right to read further.

Tony

D.I.G.

A Surprising Source of Stress and What to Do About It

We all have a lot of stress that we get exposed to all the time.  When we usually talk about stress, we mean the kind that involves planning dinners for the whole family, getting your finances in order, showing up for you loved ones, and getting time in a day to exercise a bit.

This stress is ubiquitous and we mostly talk about it in the inevitable sense.  Those are all things we’re going to be exposed to, right?  In a way that’s true, if you plan to be part of the modern day world.

But today, we’re going to expand our meaning of stress a bit.  But before you panic about all that extra stress, there’s going to be an exercise that helps you deal with any and all type of stress.  It’s…

View original post 602 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under relaxation, stress

5 Reasons to Spend More Time Outside—Even When It’s Cold

Consider this as a companion piece to the post I filed two minutes ago on Exercising in Nature.

Tony

TIME

Studies show that a stroll outdoors can actually improve brain function and mental focus. Walking not only results in increased physical activity, it also promotes the free flow of ideas, according to Stanford University researchers.

Another study by psychologists from the University of Utah and University of Kansas​ found that backpackers scored 50 percent higher on creativity tests after spending four full days in nature without any electronics. “Burying yourself in front of a computer 24/7 may have costs that can be remediated by taking a hike in nature,” co-author David Strayer said in a statement.

Research also suggests that time outside can improve focus. Children with ADHD are likely to score higher on concentration tests after time outdoors. Those children who strolled through a park saw a greater increase in focus than those who walked through a residential neighborhood…

View original post 499 more words

2 Comments

Filed under Exercise, outdoor exercise

How to Exercise Safely in Hot Weather – NIH

With summer upon us it is important to play it safe when we play outside. Too much heat can be risky for healthy 40 year olds as well as seniors. The National Institutes of Health has issued the following tips for hot weather fun.

hot weather 3

Check the weather forecast. If it’s very hot or humid, exercise inside with a Go4Life DVD or walk in an air-conditioned building like a shopping mall.

Drink plenty of liquids. Water and fruit juices are good options. Avoid caffeine and alcohol. If your doctor has told you to limit liquids, ask what to do when it is very hot outside.

Wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothes in natural fabrics.

Dress in layers so you can remove clothing as your body warms up from activity.

Get medical help right away if you think someone might have a heat-related illness. Watch for these signs: Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under aging, cardio exercise, health, healthy living, hot weather, hydration, men's health, mortality, National Institutes of Health, running, seniors, strength, stress, walking, water, Weight

A Super Relaxation Technique From Oleda Baker – Guest Post

Click anywhere to see these full size

Click anywhere to see these full size

As you can see from her photos, Senior Supermodel Oleda Baker is aging magnificently. I interviewed Oleda in December. She is a treasure trove of information on everything this blog stands for, namely weight control, healthy living and healthy aging, so I asked her if she would share some of her ideas with us. She has written 10 books on beauty and health. Her latest, written at the age of 75, Breaking the Age Barrier – Great Looks and Health at Every Age – was released in November 2010 and is available from Amazon or from her website www.oleda.com where she also sells her own line of health and beauty aids.

Your Body, Mind and Spirit Need a Break … here’s how: Years ago a doctor in New York City told me how he relieved his stress at the end of the day…. I never forgot it and have followed his advice most days.

When he went home, he drew a tub of very warm water and soaked in it for about twenty minutes. “When you get out of bed in the morning, your body’s organs are more or less rested,” he explained. “As the day goes on, those organs, as well as your mind and spirit get out of sorts due to the day’s stressful wear and tear, as it were. Hydrotherapy, a fifteen or twenty minute very warm bath, relaxes me better than anything else I’ve tried. I can feel myself returning to a calm state, and I believe it’s good for my long term health and well-being, too.”

I tried it not knowing if it would work for me…It did work! Ever since, I have soaked in a relaxing tub of warm water every day I possibly can. Until you try it it’s hard to believe how well it works. Here’s why:

Hydrotherapy – an Ancient Healing Practice

Hydrothermal therapy (hot water treatment) has been used as a traditional treatment for disease and injury by many cultures, including China and Japan. Asklepios, the ancient Greek god of healing, advocated the use of water as medicine. Similarly, Roman physicians, Galen and Celsus, used therapeutic baths for many remedies. So, water therapy has been used for centuries to heal the sick.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under aging, happiness, life challenges, men and healthy eating, men's health, Oleda Baker, relaxation, stress

What is Nature-Deficit Disorder?

What are we talking about here? Wikipedia says Nature-Deficit Disorder refers to a hypothesis by Richard Louv in his 2005 book Last Child in the Woods that human beings, especially children, are spending less time outdoors resulting in a wide range of behavioral problems. This disorder is not recognized in any of the medical manuals for mental disorders.

I confess that on first blush this term sounded kind of tree-hugging and politically-correct to me. Don’t we have enough important things to concern us without worrying about being out in nature?

setwidth600-foto7002691
While this being nature deprived is usually applied to children, it doesn’t have to be. I am indebted to Kelly, The Spunky Caregiver, for introducing me to the concept in the first place.

Kelly mentioned it regarding care giving for seniors. She wrote, “Getting outside alleviates our stress and can literally change the mental state we are in. I have personally seen this in caring for seniors with moderate to advanced dementia. Having trees, gardens, horses and walking trails around, is like heaven after being inside. They begin to remember stories, smile more and connect. I have also seen it in rehab patients, how it inspires and elevates their optimism for recovery. For me personally, I need to get outside to feel alive in my body and the thought of being inside for days is painful. I love the sun and the trees and the air. Taking the seniors outside is a serious paid benefit!” Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under aging, appreciation, biking, blood pressure, brain, calories, cardio exercise, cold weather, dementia, depression, Exercise, fat kids, healthy living, men's health, walking, Weight

A Doctor Visit in Flu Season

Having written about flu season for the past few months, when I started getting head cold symptoms last week and got nervous. In addition, an arctic freeze struck Chicago which has kept me off my bike. I found that working out in the health club, I was feeling really wiped out from a light workout. I actually napped afterwards. That and the head cold symptoms were enough for me. I booked a doctor visit. Mr. Conservative wasn’t taking any chances. I had gotten my flu shot early, but didn’t want to take any chances.  As I recommended to readers, I had gotten my flu shot early, but didn’t want to take any chances. You can read further on How to Fight the Flu elsewhere in the blog.

FEATUREGRAPHIC012313

Here’s how bad the weather has been, “Chicago’s coldest blast of air in 2 years is easing—but slowly. By midnight Tuesday, the area moved into a 55th consecutive hour of sub-20-degree thermometer readings and 46 hours with wind chills below zero. Tuesday’s 11-degree high and 1-below morning low put the day into the record books as the city’s coldest of the past two years,” according to the blog of Tom Skilling, the awesome local meteorologist.

The walk to the doctor’s office over a mile was a bracing start to the day. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under aging, flu season, flu shot, heart rate

Bike Riding in Snow’s No Fun

Chicago has just gone 307 consecutive days without a one inch snowfall. That is the longest such spell in 54 years. And, might I add, most welcome to me as a bicycle rider. Because of this snow drought, I have been able to ride many more times in these waning days of December than I would normally. As a result, I will post my biggest total mileage for a  year in my life in just three more days – over 8000 miles.

Looking west on Chicago's Riverwalk

The view looking west on Chicago’s Riverwalk with skyline in the distance

As you can see from the photos, the snow looked kind of pretty falling on the Riverwalk. However, look closely at the second photo taken on the next morning. Those patches of gray and white are ice patches and diabolical for a bicyclist.

The view looking east on the following morning

Looking east on the following morning

A sheet of ice is very simple to navigate, you just get off the bike and walk it till you are past the ice. But, sporadic ice patches are a totally different story. When I ride, I try to keep my heart rate in the target zone. For a septuagenarian like myself that requires a speed of around 12 miles an hour. Doesn’t sound very fast when you imagine yourself in your car inching along at 12 mph. On a bike, though, you are traveling at about 17 feet per second. And you aren’t strapped in to a cushy seat. You have a helmet and you are flying through the air riding a pair of skinny wheels. As the guy who has fallen at that speed and broken bones, I can attest that it is fast enough to get into trouble.
Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under aging, biking, Exercise, heart rate, seniors, target zone, treadmills, Weight, winter

11 Cold Weather Exercise Tips

In these waning days of November with the advent of cold weather, it is a good idea to remind ourselves that inclement weather conditions are not an excuse to blow off exercise. Last week I wrote Cold Weather Cycling for bike riders like me who go year ’round.

The National Institute on Aging has a number of very useful suggestions for continuing to enjoy a variety of outdoor activities.

Outside exercise is really good for you

Outside exercise is really good for you

If you want to walk, run, ski, ice skate, or any other outdoor activities when it’s cold outside, (Please read Shoveling Snow is Dangerous.):

Check the weather forecast.
If it’s very windy or cold, exercise inside with a Go4Life DVD and go out another time.

Watch out for snow and icy sidewalks.

Warm up your muscles first. Try walking or light arm pumping before you go out.

Wear several layers of loose clothing. The layers will trap warm air between them.

Avoid tight clothing, which can keep your blood from flowing freely and lead to loss of body heat.

Wear a waterproof coat or jacket if it’s snowy or rainy.

Wear a hat, scarf, and gloves.

Know the signs of hypothermia:

Watch for signs of hypothermia: cold feet and hands, swollen face, pale skin, shivering, slurring words, acting sleepy, and being confused or angry.

Be on the lookout for later signs of hypothermia: moving slowly, trouble walking, slow heartbeat, shallow breathing, and blacking out.

Call 911 right away if you think someone might have hypothermia! Get the person inside and wrap him or her in a warm blanket.

Eat less; move more; live longer. We still need to do it regardless of the conditions outside.
Tony

Leave a comment

Filed under cold weather, Exercise, health, Uncategorized, Weight, winter