Living in the upper Midwest, I always get a hankering to jet off somewhere warm right about now. But, what if you can't get away?
Studies show (the latest details on that in extended) that taking time to be in natural settings every day, getting outside for some fresh air and exercise, goes a long way in soothing and restoring us. Anything we pass that's green and growing shares its energy with us.
And, ironically, these explorations relax us, too.
So, I do the best I can to get outside -- even in the dead of winter. I bundle up and go for long walks or shovel the driveway; and, as long as it's 15F or higher, I'm happy to run outdoors -- ice and snow permitting.
But, it's not quite like relaxing on a sunny beach, is it?
How about drifting off to Florida virtually to listen to the ocean waves and watch the birds play in the sand? I know, it's not the same as the sun warming your skin or the salty wind flowing through your hair...but (after clicking off on the ad as the clip begins) you might find this to be a relaxing and fun break. Bonus: No sand in your shorts!
Aaaaaah. Now onto a little bit of research. Hopefully it will motivate you to take your next workout outside rather than the gym.
A systematic review carried out by a team at the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry has analysed existing studies [11 randomised and non-randomised control trials incorporating information from 833 adults] and concluded that there are benefits to mental and physical well-being from taking exercise in the natural environment. Their findings are published in the leading research journal Environmental Science and Technology today, 4th February 2011. ...
The study found that most trials showed an improvement in mental well-being: compared with exercising indoors, exercising in natural environments was associated with greater feelings of revitalisation, increased energy and positive engagement, together with decreases in tension, confusion, anger and depression. Participants also reported greater enjoyment and satisfaction with outdoor activity and stated that they were more likely to repeat the activity at a later date.
Note: Video and some text originally posted at PTSD Combat as "A 10-Minute Winter's Break" -- Ilona