Training Outside Among The Trees
Shit, we got some bad news for you motherflowers….We can almost guarantee that you're spending too much time indoors. According to a University of California at Berkeley survey, we spend just 7% of our time in the great outdoors. I think instinctively we know this is a departure from our true nature, but what effects might this have on our health?
Gyms in Spain make you pay an inscription fee (are we in 1904?) and a monthly quota regardless of how many times you go. In this blog we will discuss yet more reasons to give the indoor gym a miss and come train outside with Everest.
As you may or may not know, chronic digestive and other disease and mood disorders like anxiety and depression are reaching new highs. Researchers and clinicians therefore have turned to nature for answers as it’s s worth considering that our body responds constantly on unconscious levels to the environment around us.
When was the last time you enjoyed some sunshine? Feels great doesn’t it, yummy Vitamin D. A recent Norwegian study concluded that a good amount of Vitamin D reduces the risk of death by 30% in people with cardiovascular disease. For those unable to get sun exposure there will be some tips at the end of this blog to help you get your levels of Vitamin D up.
But first more benefits of being out in natural light. One study compared the effects of morning and afternoon outdoor exercise among 360 women, it found that being out in the morning produced the greatest sleep improvement, but afternoon light was also beneficial. The data is showing then, that exposure to natural light during the day keeps our internal clock on track and enhances sleep.
At Everest we diverge away from standard health and fitness regimes which solely concentrate on diet and exercise, no mention of the most powerful thing known to man, the mind. We think the mind is one of, if not the most important building block of wellbeing, we adjusted to this by implementing the breath work, finding the Wim Hof technique a great doorway into the world of meditation. We then transition into a guided meditation after the breath work in most classes.
The benefits of meditation for mental wellbeing are too many to cover here and are not within the scope of this blog, one of them is increased self-esteem. Interestingly, research shows that as little as five minutes of outdoor exercise can also improve self-esteem.
So just five minutes of “green exercise” — any kind of physical activity in a nature setting like a city park or trail — produces a major improvement in mood and sense of well-being. Nature plus water, such as a pond, lake, river, ocean, or waterfall, delivers an even bigger mood boost. The Japanese even have a term for it ‘Forest bathing’.
So how does forest bathing work?
#1 Boosts immunity
Being surrounded by trees, rather than simply being outside, may explain the immune-boosting benefits of forest bathing. Many evergreen trees give off aromatic compounds called phytoncides that increase natural killer (NK) cells, your immune system’s lead defence against viruses and disease. NK cells are suppressed by chronic exposure to stress hormones, which can lead to a weakened immune system and even cancer. But NK cell activity is always higher after forest bathing and raises as your body’s exposed to more phytoncides. A study in the International Journal of Immunopathology found that breathing in small amounts of airborne plant chemicals improves your immune responses by 50%..
#2 Makes you smarter
Cognitive gains from forest bathing include a better mood to increased mental performance and creative problem solving.
#3 You’ll connect with your neighborhood
Gym workouts tend to be solitary. Outdoors, you might meet neighbours and notice things in your community that aren't invisible from a car.
#4 You’ll improve your immunity
To resist colds, flu, allergies, and other illnesses, our immune system needs to be exposed to a variety of beneficial bacteria and other microbes that live outdoors. But we’re prone to needless ailments by spending, on average, 90 percent of our time indoors. Studies show that by exposing us to nature’s microbes, exercise in a natural outdoor environment enhances our ability to resist harmful bugs that cause infections and other health problems.
#5 Reduced stress
#6 Accelerated recovery from injury or illness
#7 Reduced blood pressure
#8 Improved mood
#9 Improved sleep
#10 Increased focus
#11 Increased energy
Other reported benefits continue to mimic those of mindfulness and meditation mentioned before – an overall increase in happiness and clarity, for example.
Staring at the same 4 walls of your house or gym can be pretty dull, so lets take exercise and life back to where humans are designed to do it...outside...
Up your vitamin D intake now…
Here’s what to do if your vitamin D levels are inadequate, which is far more common than having too much vitamin D:
Foods: Eat fatty fish like fresh tuna or salmon; beef liver, and egg yolks.
Supplement: Take vitamin D3 in the morning. Or take cod liver oil, which also contains vitamin A and omega 3s in addition to vitamin D. By taking them together, they work as inflammatory disease combatants.