Green Exercise & Mental Health

According to the findings of a recent study of 1252 participants published by Jules Pretty and Jo Barton of the University of Essex (U.K.), and reported by the Environmental Science & Technology Journal, there appears to be a link between physical activity that takes place in nature and positive health. The study tends to indicate that both mental and physical health can be improved by way of green exercise.

There are a variety of activities that may assist in helping you to improve your health by way of a green regimen. Some of these activities may focus more on physical health yet still provide mental health benefits; others may focus more upon improving mental health, and still others, a combination thereof.

The following is a list of possible green activities and how they may help with improving your mental health.

Physical Activities to Take You Away

Sometimes you need a little physical work to take you away from it all. Something that is so strenuous, invigorating, or takes so much concentration that you just don’t have time to focus on your troubles.

There are certain green activities that can help whisk you away from your problems just by their sheer physicality. Although, how effective they are in improving your mental state through escapism could depend heavily upon just how much you actually apply yourself to them.

Often times, things like shoveling snow, mowing grass, raking leaves, and similar physical activities that take place outdoors, can provide you with a great workout and have you working so hard that you are really only concentrating on the task at hand, leaving much of that mental stress to melt away.

Exercise for Reflection

Other green activities provide a chance to slow down for a moment, reflect, and gather your thoughts. These types of activities provide time for clarification of ideas, sifting through jumbled thoughts, and in a way, allow you to conduct a decluttering of your mind so to speak.

Taking walks or hiking in scenic settings, jogging, having a swim, and more relaxing, yet still physical activities that can take place in natural settings can provide a little downtime for pondering what’s on your mind or discussing your thoughts with a loved one or friend.

Combination Activities

Some green activities provide you with the opportunity for periods of both great physical exercise that can leave you with little on your mind but the activity at hand, and time to think and reflect as well.

You might find that activities such as gardening, canoeing or rafting, camping, biking, and certain sports activities can provide both bouts of rigorous physical activity but with downtimes that can allow for reflection and mental relief. The mental benefits associated with such green activities and how these benefits affect you personally may often be contingent upon your particular interests however, and how you partake in or apply yourself to these various activities.

Conclusion

You don’t always have to look far or make much of an effort to find available green exercise options. By taking advantage of your surroundings and the green activities that present themselves in your geographic location, you may find yourself enjoying a variety of mentally freeing exercises.

And while the activities listed above as examples of green exercises have been placed into particular categories, this doesn’t necessarily mean that elements or entire activities aren’t interchangeable. Certain activities may produce more mental or physical benefits to a person based upon his or her particular interests, stress levels, and physical ability. How these green exercises affect you and your mental health is often up to you and how you choose to make use of them to reduce stress.

Jamie enjoys writing about the different ways to manage life’s challenges. She is a college professor and a licensed counselor in Houston. Jamie has been helping women and adolescent girls deal with depression, anger, grief and more for nearly a decade.

Exercise through Pole Dancing

Ladies, we all know how hard it can be to squeeze in that time at the fitness center or gym between work, the children, family and friends. Getting a good work out can be challenging and oftentimes, boring. If you’re tired of the same old boring workouts and routines, try a pole-dancing class.

Pole-dancing classes can be a great way to get in shape and can help you to become more limber with a stronger core and more flexible body, making you long, lean and very sexy. The classes help you to focus on your core (your abdomen, obliques and back muscles) while having a fantastic time learning new dance moves and routines. Part gymnastics and part dance class, the classes are fun and geared to the everyday woman.

Pole-dancing classes incorporate the type of pole used in strip clubs to perform a series of simple to complex dancing routines that increase your muscle strength and flexibility, and can help you to get in touch with your sexuality at the same time. Many classes also require participants to wear dance shorts and dancing or club shoes (those with a mid-platform sole and six inch or higher heel) but don’t worry ladies; most classes are limited to women only, allowing a fun and casual atmosphere where women can discover a new part of themselves, while enjoying the company of other women.

Pole-dancing classes are held in dance studios and in the private dance rooms of clubs and usually consist of one to two dance instructors and three to twelve participants, each with their own pole. The classes have earned a devoted following in the United Kingdom as well as the United States and are also a great idea for a hen, bachelorette or birthday party.

Due to the high heels, dance routines and use of a stripper pole, alcohol is strictly forbidden at a pole-dancing party or class, but many hen parties incorporate a pole-dancing class, followed by clubbing or dinner out, making for a memorable girls’ night out.

When looking for a pole-dancing class, make sure to ask whether the class is limited to women, what the dress requirements are, and how long the class lasts. Also, it is advisable to find a class that takes place in a mirrored room, to help you understand your form and to help you visualize yourself as you practice your new hot moves.

Many pole-dancing classes also offer merchandise that allow you to incorporate your new moves into your home life, such as dance poles, both for permanent placement and those that are adjustable as well as dancing shoes, DVD’s of pole-dancing routines, and dancing outfits to enhance your pole-dancing experience.

About the author:

Claire Jarrett is writing on behalf of Pole Secrets who offer pole dancing lessons

  • 10 Hilarious Pole Dance Fails (oddee.com)
  • Video of SISTAR’s Bora rehearsing ‘pole dance’ choreography revealed (allkpop.com)
  • Can Pole Dancing Shimmy to the Olympics? (abcnews.go.com)
  • Christina Applegate teaches prenatal pole dancing! (popbytes.com)

The Nutritional Benefits of Indian Cuisine

Who doesn’t love a delicious, rich Indian meal? It’s filling, enjoys a worldwide appeal, and best of all – it is good for you! Indian food is internationally recognized as one of the most healthy food types available. Here are six ingredients and meals that you can enjoy guiltlessly.

Cumin
Cumin is a popular spice that is found in several Indian dishes, such as aloo gobi, aloo baingan, and jeera. It is also a main ingredient in curry powder. This special herb is full of antioxidants, which help the immune system to function at its best. Those suffering from digestive issues will also benefit from regular doses of cumin. Richness in iron is another benefit of cumin, which makes a great supplement for those with anemia or lack sufficient iron in general.

Turmeric
Turmeric is another powerful all-around healer used in the prevention and treatment of several maladies. For instance, turmeric is known as a mild pain killer as well as anti-inflammatory. Turmeric is also good for the liver, acting as both a detoxifier as well as a protector. Arthritis and joint disease sufferers will do well to eat dishes with turmeric in order to relieve their symptoms. Turmeric is found in vindaloo, chicken masala, and aloo phujia. Like cumin, turmeric is also an ingredient in curry powder.

Vegetable Curry
Though the ingredients and spices vary greatly with this universal dish, they all have one thing in common – vegetables! A vegetable curry is an excellent way to get your daily dose of veggies all in one meal. Popular vegetables include cauliflower, onions, potatoes, carrots, squash, eggplant, peas, and tomatoes.

Chana Masala
Chana masala is a delicious meal that is easy to make and found on menus worldwide. If you’re not familiar with this dish, its main base is chickpeas, or garbanzo beans. Chickpeas are rich in protein, fiber, folate, thiamin, iron, magnesium, and potassium. The other ingredients in chana masala include an herb-heavy seasoning comprised of a combination of the following: turmeric, cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper, coriander, and ginger.

Ginger
Newly pregnant mothers can take advantage of Indian dishes seasoned with ginger, as it is a known treatment for morning sickness. Ginger tablets are also available in airports and ship ports to reduce the effect of motion sickness and nausea. Ginger soothes the gastrointestinal passageway, making it a natural remedy for heartburn. Some studies have even shown that ginger may be helpful in the prevention of certain types of cancers. Vegetable bhaji, tomato masala, and masoor dal are all dishes that utilize ginger.

Fenugreek
Fenugreek is another miracle spice. The fenugreek seed is a good source of fiber and iron. Acting as nature’s Viagra, it has been used to increase libido in both men and women. Menopausal women will find relief in fenugreek, which has similar properties as estrogen. During flu season, fenugreek can be used to ease sore throats, fever, and coughing. This herb adds flavor to dishes such as methi dum aloo, sambar, and sai bhaji.

Jasmine Stephenson is an international traveler, freelance writer, and Indian food lover. She is also a guest blogger for An Apple a Day and a writer on earning your nursing degree for the Guide to Health Education.