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Posts Tagged ‘physical activity’

man and woman in business attire out for a walk

One of my new year’s resolutions for 2019 is to move more. I know that to be successful with my goal, I am going to have to incorporate physical activity into my 8 hour work day. Sitting for hours every day depletes my energy and leaves me feeling sluggish.

Being more physically active can reduce coronary heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. Other benefits of being more active include more energy, better sleep, a more active mind, and less stress. These are all beneficial, especially to my professional career, but again, it’s my job every day that is providing the most periods of sitting or sedentary behavior. This is problematic as research has called sitting “the new smoking”, and long periods of sitting have been linked to early death.

With a little effort and creative thinking, I was able to find some ways every day to accomplish my goal and work more physical activity into my time at work. Here are a few ideas to try:

Incorporate What You Like to do in Small Ways at Work: I take a barre class twice a week. In class, we use light weights and a small playground ball. I purchased an extra set for my office, so when I feel the need to move, I can grab them and do a few moves. If barre isn’t for you, grab a yoga ball to sit on, or bring in equipment you use and are familiar with.

Involve Your Office: Chances are good there is someone else in your office with a similar goal. Ask your coworkers to join you, or look for an office challenge to participate in. An office challenge can have the benefits of increasing physical activity, building office unity, and usually will provide an incentive. You could also suggest standing office meetings, which can provide an opportunity for activity but also help increase the productivity of meetings. Standing meetings can be up to 25% shorter than standard meetings!

Incorporate Physical Activity into Breaks or Lunch: Taking a walk during a break or planning to spend part of your lunch walking or taking an exercise class can be beneficial when trying to increase physical activity.

Walk or Ride Your Bike to Work: Consider starting your commute with some physical activity, if you live close enough to work to do so. If walking or riding isn’t an option, try parking a little farther away to increase your activity before and after work.

Consider Your Day: Can you walk over to a coworker instead of sending an email? Is walking and dropping a letter in the mailbox an option instead of adding it to the mail pile? Could you take the stairs instead of the elevator? Be aware of your daily habits and look for opportunities to include activity in the things you do every day.

Set a Timer: Consider setting a timer or alarm reminding you to stand up and stretch or go for a quick walk at certain points throughout the day. If you have a standing desk, use a timer to remind you to use your desk.

Need more ideas to stay active during your workday? Take a look at these exercises you can do from your office, and comment below with whatever strategies you might add to the list!

 

Author: Alisha Barton, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension – Miami County, barton.345@osu.edu

Reviewed By: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension – Franklin County, lobb.3@osu.edu

 

Sources:

American Cancer Society (2018). Staying Active at Work. https://www.cancer.org/latest-news/tips-for-staying-active-at-work.html

John Hopkins Medicine. Risks of Physical Inactivity. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/conditions/cardiovascular_diseases/risks_of_physical_inactivity_85,p00218

Lobb, J. (2018). Work it at Work. Live Healthy, Live Well. https://livehealthyosu.com/2018/05/03/work-it-at-work/

Medline Plus. Health Risks of an Inactive Lifestyle. https://medlineplus.gov/healthrisksofaninactivelifestyle.html

Remley, D. (2016). Take a Stand Against Sitting. Live Healthy, Live Well. https://livehealthyosu.com/2016/06/08/take-a-stand-against-sitting/

Rini, J. (2015). Workplace Wellness Trend: Standing Desks. https://livehealthyosu.com/2015/08/13/workplace-wellness-trend-standing-desks/

Taparia, N. (2014). Kick the Chair: How Standing Cut Our Meeting Times by 25%. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/groupthink/2014/06/19/kick-the-chair-how-standing-cut-our-meeting-times-by-25/#7ea9900535fe

 

 

 

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Image result for picking up litter

I’m starting to think I have some Swedish blood/genealogy connection thing going on because every time I read about a new trend originating from that country, I realize I’m already doing it.

The first time was when I wrote about Swedish death cleaning, which is the process of minimizing your possessions so your children won’t have to deal with tons of stuff after you die. I’ve been in a decluttering phase for the past two years.

Then in April I read an article about “plogging,” which is essentially the process of working out and picking up trash at the same time. News flash:  I get irate when I see litter.  It drives me nuts that people throw their trash outside instead of holding onto it until they (1) see a trash receptacle or (2) wait until they get home to dispose of it.

Maybe it was watching that commercial as a kid of a Native American Indian crying over litter (it was a public service advertisement for Keep America Beautiful), but I have always been a stickler for picking up trash. For many Americans, the Crying Indian became a symbol of environmental idealism.

Now Sweden’s latest fitness craze — plogging — is making its way to U.S. shores. The term is a mix of words combining jogging and the Swedish “plocka upp,” which means to “pick up.” In this case, litter. I have been “plogging” for years when I walk; as a matter of fact it is a family thing that my parents and I have been doing for over 25 years.

Plogging is not a hard activity to incorporate into your exercise routine if you are a runner or walker (although walking makes it a little easier to grab trash). I bought one of those “grabber” devices at an estate sale years ago, and have since picked up an extra one.

I can usually find one for a dollar or so at an estate sale or garage sale.  They are generally found in the homes of elderly people who at some point needed a tool to help them reach into high places in their closets or cupboards.

Technically, you don’t need to use a grabber; you can just bend down and pick up the piece of trash. It will give you a better workout if you do it that way (like doing squats). I do recommend wearing some type of work glove, though.

When I get ready to go out for my walk, I grab a heavy vinyl “trash” bag, my grabber, and set off. If I see litter on the street or in the grass, I cinch it with my grabber and drop it into the bag.

Quiz question:  Anyone want to guess what I pick up most (not counting cigarette butts)?  Answer at the end of the article.

On any given day I can easily fill two bags with trash; even more so the day after garbage day. I know where all the trash cans in town are located, so I can empty my bag if I need to when it gets full.

Plogging is a win/win for you and your community–you get the benefits of a daily workout and your community looks pristine. Additionally, you might find something of value. I’ve found both a $10 and $5 dollar bill on the street, as well as tons of change. But the biggest reward is just doing something of value for yourself (exercise) and the community.

Quiz Answer:  Empty cigarette packs and beverage containers (water, pop, beer, etc).

Written by:  Donna Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Erie County, green.308@osu.edu

 

Reviewed by:  Beth Stefura, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Mahoning County, stefura.2@osu.edu

 

Sources:

https://www.adcouncil.org/Our-Campaigns/The-Classics/Pollution-Keep-America-Beautiful-Iron-Eyes-Cody

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/inspired-life/wp/2018/02/23/plogging-is-the-swedish-fitness-craze-for-people-who-want-to-save-the-planet-its-making-its-way-to-the-u-s/?utm_term=.6ea8afdeb9a0

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How much physical activity do you get each week?

According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, the average adult needs at least:

150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity physical activity each week (i.e. aerobic or “cardio” activity that gets you breathing harder and makes your heart beat faster)

OR

75 minutes (1 hour 15 minutes) of vigorous-intensity physical activity each week (i.e. aerobic or “cardio” activity that makes your heart rate and breathing increase to a point where it is difficult to talk)

Moderate Intensity Physical Activity examples: Walking briskly (3 miles per hour or faster, but not race-walking), water aerobics, bicycling slower than 10 miles per hour, tennis (doubles), ballroom dancing, general gardening. Vigorous Intensity Physical Activity Examples: race walking, jogging or running; swimming laps, tennis (singles), aerobic dancing, bicycling 10 miles per hour or faster, jumping rope, heavy gardening (continuous digging or hoeing), hiking uphill or with a heavy backpack.

That might seem like a lot of time to spend being active, but it’s really not! Think about the amount of time you spend watching TV each week. Thirty minutes of activity a day, when performed five days a week, meets the guideline. It is the equivalent of five 30-minute TV shows or one to two movies! And, experts say that those thirty daily minutes of activity can be further broken down into 10 minute segments, yet still help prevent disease and reap health benefits.

If you’re not currently meeting the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, consider incorporating short (10-minute) segments of exercise into your workday. There are many exercises that can be done in your office or from home with no equipment required, such as:woman-2819502_640

  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Wall sits
  • Planks
  • Knee raises
  • Standing crunches

If you have a sturdy desk or table, you can also do incline push-ups or triceps dips to work your arms. And, if you have a chair nearby for support, you can do leg raises (forward, backward or sideways), donkey kick-backs, or calf raises. To mix things up a little more, use paper plates as sliders and do additional exercises, such as:

man-2754215_640

  • Mountain climbers
  • Plank jacks
  • Arm circles
  • Standing leg circles
  • Hamstring curls

If you don’t mind working a little harder (i.e. possibly breaking a sweat), either at home or during the workday, you can design your own 10-minute workout using a timing scheme to rotate through a few exercises of your choice. For example, you might choose to do:

  • 45 seconds of an exercise with 15 seconds of rest, repeated 10x (either the same exercise or different ones).
  • 30 seconds of one exercise alternated with 30 seconds of another, repeated 10x.
  • An exercise ladder where you choose two exercises (A & B). Start with 10 repetitions of exercise A followed by 1 repetition of exercise B, working up/down until you end with 1 rep of exercise A and 10 reps of exercise B.

So, next time you think you don’t have enough time in your week to exercise, think again! Strive to incorporate short (10-minute) segments of activity into your day until you achieve at least 150 minutes each week.

 

Author: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Franklin County, lobb.3@osu.edu

Reviewer: Misty Harmon, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Perry County, harmon.416@osu.edu

 

Sources:

2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. https://health.gov/paguidelines/guidelines/summary.aspx.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2015). How much physical activity do adults need? https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/adults/index.htm.

Moorhead, Rebecca. Work it… At Work: Exercises to Fit Into Your Work Day. Presented on February 14, 2018. Moorhead.41@osu.edu.

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The last couple of weeks have been spent moving from a home with 20 years accumulation of “stuff” to a new home. While it has been exciting, it has also been exhausting.  I realized a few days ago that I was staying up later than usual to unpack and rearrange items and then not falling asleep when I did go to bed. My mind kept racing thinking about everything I needed – or wanted – to do the next day. The result was a tired, somewhat grumpy version of me!

Eating well and being physically active are two basic activities that we think of when we discuss being healthy.  Something that is often overlooked is the importance that a good night’s sleep plays in our overall health. Research has shown that insufficient sleep increases the risk of disorders, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, stroke and depression. It’s also associated with cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease.

Most of us have heard that all adults need 7 – 8 hours of sleep each night. That generally holds true but it is important to remember that the quality of your sleep is just as, if not more, important than the quantity!  You should feel rested when you wake up in the morning. It is important to listen to your body’s biological clock which is set by the hours of daylight where you live. This should make it easier for you to stay awake during the day and sleep at night.

There will be times that you find it more difficult to fall asleep than others. If you are under stress, experiencing pain from an injury or illness, consuming excess caffeine or alcohol, you may find that falling and staying asleep are difficult. In that case, recognizing the reasons and making some adjustments to your daytime activities should help you sleep more soundly.

Some suggestions for improving your sleep:

  • Create a comfortable, calming sleep environment. This could include room darkening window coverings.
  • Avoid electronic devices in your bedroom – computers, tablets, games, etc. should be shut down before bedtime.
  • Establish a routine that you follow each evening to help you fall asleep and stay asleep.
  • Have a consistent bed time – even on the weekends.

There are small changes you can make to your daytime activities that may lead to better sleep.

  • Try to spend some time outdoors every day.
  • Exercise earlier in the day instead of later in the evening.
  • If you nap, limit yourself to 20 minutes or less.
  • Avoid both caffeine and alcohol close to your chosen bed time. Do some experimenting to find the cut off time for you – everyone will be a little different!
  • If you smoke, quit! Nicotine in cigarettes can make sleep more difficult.

If you continue to have sleep problems, it might be wise to visit your doctor to be sure you don’t have a more serious sleep disorder.

While sleep is not a guaranteed cure all for you, it doesn’t hurt anyone to establish sleep habits that help you consistently get a good night’s sleep!

 

WRITTEN BY: Marilyn Rabe, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, rabe.9@osu.edu

REVIEWED BY: Michelle Treber, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, treber.1@osu.edu

Sources:

http://www.apa.org/monitor/2017/10/cover-sleep.aspx

https://healthfinder.gov/healthtopics/population/men/mental-health-and-relationships/get-enough-sleep#the-basics_2

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/ask-the-doctor-right-amount-of-sleep

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Country-Dancing-Arthur_Murray_Dance_Studio_in_The_Woodlands_TX1080x720

I love to watch people dance, and obviously others do as well because competitive dance shows like Dancing with the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance are dominating the world of reality television.

But what’s even better than watching someone dance is actually getting up and dancing.  You don’t need to be a dance pro to move to music, you just need to let go of your inhibitions and enjoy the process of moving to music.

If you’ve ever watched young children at a wedding reception, they love to get on the dance floor and move around.  They’re not self-conscious or embarrassed. However, as we age, our fear of looking foolish or of not doing something perfectly keeps us from enjoying the moment.

That’s a shame, because the physical and mental benefits of dancing are numerous.  Regardless of the type of dance—be it ballroom, ballet, Zumba, salsa, hip-hop or line dancing—each style can play a role in helping us stay fit.

Why Dance?

The fitness and health benefits of dancing are numerous.  A recent study in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience found that older adults who participated in dance once a week for 18 months actually had an increase in their brain’s hippocampus size.

This is great news, as the hippocampus plays a key role in learning and memory.  Dance is an art form, merging creativity, self-expression and physical activity—all of which boost mental health.

Other Fitness & Health Benefits of Dance include:

  • Weight loss
  • Safe and easy on the joints
  • Improves strength, flexibility, agility and balance
  • Requires good posture and better control of the body’s movements
  • Conditions the heart and cardiovascular system
  • Improves lung capacity
  • Increases energy
  • Reduces stress
  • Builds confidence and self esteem
  • Lifts spirits and fights depression
  • Boosts memory and keeps the brain active
  • A great social activity, hobby and a positive way to meet people

So what are you waiting for? Play some music, get up, and dance!

Written by:  Beth Stefura, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Mahoning County, stefura.2@osu.edu

Reviewed by:  Donna Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Erie County, green.308@osu.edu

Sources:

https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/features/dancing-better-health

http://neuro.hms.harvard.edu/harvard-mahoney-neuroscience-institute/brain-newsletter/and-brain-series/dancing-and-brain

http://search.creativecommons.org/

 

 

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Do you have a regular exercise routine? If so, maybe you feel like you are in an exercise rut- you’re tired of doing the same thing over and over but you don’t know how to mix it up. Or, maybe you have found a form of exercise that you really enjoy, so you feel compelled to keep doing what you have been. While finding an activity you view as fun rather than work is central to sticking with and benefiting from an exercise program, it’s still important to mix up your exercise routine. When we continuously repeat the same activities, our muscles become accustomed to the movement and fail to be challenged.

Personally, I have spent the past year attending hip hop fitness classes. While I very much enjoy these classes, I know my body would benefit from other types of movement. Maybe that means trying out another fitness class, like kickboxing or cycling, taking a morning walk or jog, or adding pilates or weight training to my fitness routine.

To reap the biggest benefit from your exercise program, experts suggest you include at least three different types of activity in your workout routine. See the infographic below to learn more about the different types of exercise.

Types of Exercise

To create a well-balanced exercise routine, aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity in at least 10-minute increments throughout the week. Add 2-3 sessions of strength training per week, with each session containing 1-3 sets of 6-10 exercises, each set containing 10-12 repetitions of each exercise.  (Repetitions are the number of times you perform a specific exercise without stopping. A set is a group of repetitions). Perform stretches 2-3 times per week, perhaps after your cardio or strength workout. Hold each stretch for 10-30 seconds. You may wish to do multiple repetitions of each stretch.

As you get comfortable in a routine and feel the need to mix things up to challenge yourself, consider increasing the frequency, duration or intensity of your workouts. For strength training exercises, this may mean increasing the number of reps or sets you complete, or the amount weight you use to complete your sets.

How will you mix up your workout routine? Let us know by leaving a comment in the box below!

 

Author: Jenny Lobb, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, lobb.3@osu.edu

Reviewer: Misty Harmon, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Perry County, harmon.416@osu.edu

 

Sources:

Harvard Health Letter (2017). The 4 most important types of exercise. https://www.health.harvard.edu/exercise-and-fitness/the-4-most-important-types-of-exercise

Vanderbilt University Medical Center (2011). What Does a Well Rounded Fitness Program Include? https://healthandwellness.vanderbilt.edu/news/2011/09/what-does-a-well-rounded-fitness-program-include/

Werle, C., Wansink, B. & Payne, C. (2014). Is it fun or exercise? The framing of physical activity biases subsequent snacking. Cornell University Food and Brand Lab. https://foodpsychology.cornell.edu/research/it-fun-or-exercise-framing-physical-activity-biases-subsequent-snacking.

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Have you heard about “life hacks”? These shortcuts or tips can help make life easier.  I started thinking about “health hacks” – things we could do to improve our health.  Many of these suggestions may be routine for you but look through them and see if you can find a new “health hack” to try.

  • Drink Water instead of a Beverage with Calories. Are you interested in seeing the savings in calories? Visit this CDC site for calorie comparisons. Water is refreshing and calorie free. If you want to jazz it up, add lemon, lime, strawberries, peaches or mint. For tasty combos, check out this blog featuring infused waters. Start slow and substitute water for a soda (diet or regular).
  • Get your Blood Pressure Checked. Uncontrolled blood pressure is a leading cause of heart disease and stroke. You may have high blood pressure and not have any symptoms – so check it to see. Many pharmacies and stores have blood pressure monitors available. Get yours checked and talk to your health professional if you have any concerns about your blood pressure.
  • Find a Healthy Weight. Do you know the weight that is right for you? Click on this link to find out. Most of us know when we are a little over our best weight. Are your clothes tight or too loose? Do you want a free tool that will help you manage your weight? Check out SuperTracker – it can help you plan, analyze and track your nutrition and physical activity. You can join a challenge; receive virtual coaching, and motivation. SuperTracker is part of MyPlate which contains many resources
  • Farmers Market. Visit your local market and pick up vegetables or fruits. Not sure how to find a market near you? Visit this USDA website to find one near you. Eating locally grown food is a great way to get in vegetables and fruits. This past week I purchased two kinds of berries, summer squash, zucchini and beets. Try something new and support a farmer from your area.
  • Move More. If your health care provider could tell you one “health hack” to do, I bet it would be to increase your physical activity. Think about these benefits: weight management, blood pressure management, and blood sugar control. Need more motivation to move?
  • Let’s add these benefits of Physical Activity:
    • Reduce your risk of Type 2 Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome
    • Reduce your risk of Cardiovascular Disease
    • Reduce your risk of some Cancers
    • Strengthen your Bones and Muscles
    • Improve your Mental Health and Mood
    • Improve your ability to do Daily Activities and Prevent Falls

Do you have a favorite “Health Hack”? Share it with me through the comment section.

Writer: Michelle Treber, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, treber.1@osu.edu

Reviewer: Marilyn Rabe, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, rabe.9@osu.edu

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Is exercise contagious? In a sense, yes it is, and so are other health behaviors!

Many health behavior theories incorporate the concept of “social norms”. Social norms refer to the way people typically act and believe they should act. In reference to health, social norms include people’s beliefs about how often healthy behaviors are practiced in society or among their families and friends. Health behavior theories suggest that people tend to make healthy choices when they believe that family, friends and others in their community are doing the same thing.

In a recent study of social norms among women living in Australia, those who perceived others in their community as active where more likely to engage in physical activity themselves. Similarly, those who stated that many people in their community were frequent consumers of fast food and soda were most likely to eat fast food and drink soda regularly, and those who stated that many people in their community were healthy eaters had the highest intakes of fruits and vegetables.

In a study out of Cornell University, individuals ate more unhealthy food and less healthy food when eating with or near an overweight diner. The study findings suggest that people may be less likely to make healthy choices if they don’t believe the people they are surrounded by are making similar choices.

Recently, I have been experiencing the positive pressure of social norms firsthand because I am Facebook friends with a few of the fitness class instructors at the studio where I go to work out. These instructors post encouraging messages before their classes, often tagging members of the studio to remind them to attend. After their classes, the instructors post photos of class attendees in action. As a result, every time I log into my Facebook account, I see pictures of people I know working out! These photos reinforce exercise as normal and expected, causing me to want to join in more often!

MNHHF

Do your friends, family members, neighbors and coworkers encourage you to make healthy choices by modeling healthy behavior? How about your social media contacts? If you need more positive behavior reinforcement in your social media feed, consider following the Live Healthy, Live Well team and the Live Smart Ohio blog on Facebook or Twitter! You may also want to check with your local Extension office to see whether they have a social media presence.

Author: Jenny Lobb, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, lobb.3@osu.edu

Reviewer: Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, treber.1@osu.edu

Sources:

Ball, K., Jeffery, R.W., Gavin, A., McNaughton, S.A., and Crawford, D. (2010). Is healthy behavior contagious? Associations of social norms with physical activity and healthy eating. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity; 7(86). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3018448/.

Rural Health Information Hub (2016). Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Theories and Models. https://www.ruralhealthinfo.org/community-health/health-promotion/2/theories-and-models.

Shimizu, M., Johnson, K. and Wansink, B. (2014). In good company: The effect of an eating companion’s appearanfe on food intake. Appetite; 83, 263-268. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0195666314004450.

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2011). Social Norms. https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/social-norms/.

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Is it possible that living around more green spaces can improve or help your health?  It can walk in parkhelp you live longer according to a 2016 analysis by Harvard School of Public Health researchers in a study of 100,000 women.  Women living in the areas with the most greenness in an area within a tenth of a mile had a 12% lower rate of death compared to women who lived in areas with the lowest level of greenness.  Women in the highest area of greenness had a:

  • 13% lower rate for cancer mortality
  • 35% lower respiratory disease-related mortality
  • 41% lower rate for kidney disease mortality

So why do researchers think green space may improve your health?  They think it is a combination of factors which include:

  • Lower levels of depression
  • Increases social engagement
  • Higher levels of physical activity
  • Lower levels of pollution

When examining why people in green spaces might have lower levels of depression it is believed people who live in greener areas are more likely to go outside which exposes them to sunlight.  Being exposed to sunlight helps people make more Vitamin D.  Depression is associated with lower levels of Vitamin D.   Participating in social activities and being with friends can help decrease feelings of loneliness and depression.  Experiencing nature and being outside has shown to increase feelings of well-being.   Some research links images of nature with an increased positive mood.

Higher levels of physical activity helps a person be more fit and usually healthier.  Exercise is good medicine.  The women who lived in greener spaces were more physically active in this research study. flowers-113503_960_720

Trees, plants, grass and flowers all help reduce pollution.  Plants reduce the levels of nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter which helps lower pollution.  Those women who lived near the highest amount of vegetation saw a reduced rate of death from respiratory disease by about one-third.  Plants can help clean up our air and help us breathe cleaner air. gravel-road-1031726__340

All this is good news if you live in green spaces with heavy vegetation.  Be sure to take the opportunity to get outside, walk or bike around your neighborhood, find friends or family members to walk with you, and enjoy being outdoors.

If you don’t live in an area with much vegetation check to see if you can plant some trees, plants and/or bushes.  Put some potted plants on your patio or near your front door if it is outside.  Encourage your city or town to be a “Tree City” and plant more trees.   Go visit a friend or meet a friend in the park to walk and enjoy the outside.  Try taking a vacation in areas with heavy vegetation.

Author:  Pat Brinkman, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension

Reviewer: Tammy Jones, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension

References:

Frates, E. (2017). Time Spent in “Green Places” Linked with Longer Life in Women, Harvard Health Blog.  Available at http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/time-spent-green-places-linked-longer-life-women-2017030911152

Mann, D. (2012).  Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Depression.  Available at http://www.webmd.com/depression/news/20120627/vitamin-d-deficiency-linked-to-depression#1

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walking_focus_destressThe recent stretch of nice weather has hopefully inspired you to get outside and get moving!  Many of us tend to exercise less over the cold days of winter but now would be a great time to plan your activities for the coming months.

Probably the easiest, cheapest, and most accessible type of exercise is walking. It is an activity that most anyone of any age can participate in and enjoy. Walking provides so many benefits for our bodies. It can help lower bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol. It can help lower your blood pressure and help you control your type 2 diabetes. Walking can also help manage your weight and improve your mood!

The Mayo clinic shared information from The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute  who developed a 12 week walking schedule that can start you on the path to better health. But before starting this walking plan, talk with your doctor if you have serious health issues, or if you’re older than age 40 and you’ve been inactive recently.

At the beginning of your walk, take about 5 minutes to warm up your muscles. At the end of your walk, walk slowly for about 5 minutes to cool down your muscles. Don’t forget to stretch! Be sure and wear comfortable, supportive shoes.walking-shoes

There are many ways that you can work walking into your day:

  • Park farther from your office
  • Use the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Go up or down a flight of stairs each time you go to the restroom
  • Walk your dog
  • Take your family to a local park
  • Walk over your lunch hour with a co-worker
  • When meeting friends for lunch or dinner, park farther from the restaurant

Always keep safety in mind when you walk outdoors. Walk with a friend when you can. Carry your cell phone, put your name and contact phone number in your pocket. Avoid dark and deserted areas, carry a whistle or pepper spray in case of an emergency, and don’t use a headset that might keep you from hearing traffic.

How can you add a walk to your day?

 

Sources:

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/walking/art-20050972

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/PhysicalActivity/Walking/Walk-Dont-Run-Your-Way-to-a-Healthy-Heart_UCM_452926_Article.jsp#.WK3TWPKlzdV

http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/walking_helps_prevent_chronic_disease

Author:  Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Franklin County

Reviewed by:  Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Pickaway County

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