Exercise Outdoors to Beat Stress and Depression

aa-3.jpgThe anti-aging benefits of ecotherapy — exercising in a park or any green environment — is so much more effective than exercising indoors that it should be a frontline treatment for stress and depression, researchers say.

Seems like research has finally caught up with the oft-heard advice to someone who’s stressed out: “Why don’t you take a walk and cool off!” Researchers in the UK say that taking a walk in a green environment, such as a park, is better at beating stress and depression than anyone realized. This is good news for anyone looking for an easy anti-aging exercise program.

Called ‘ecotherapy’ by its practitioners, the mental, physical and spiritual healing benefits of exercise performed in parks, farms, gardens, forests or wherever nature abounds, has so impressed researchers in the UK that they have recommended it as a first-line treatment for stress and depression.

Ecotherapy is based on a new field of study called ecopsychology — the relationship between mind, body and spirit, and our culture’s steady drift away from nature. It is said that reconnecting to nature through a simple walk in the park can help us achieve a soothing balance that leads to mental and even physical improvements in our health.

The research has proven another old saying, “A change is as good as a holiday,” but with this caveat: Take it outside! Although we’ve known for eons that getting away from a stressful situation or environment is beneficial, taking a walk in a mall or an office or anywhere inside a building just doesn’t do the job. But taking the same walk in a park apparently does wonders as a stress and anti-aging therapy.

Although walking, jogging or a taking a bike ride in a natural environment is a perfect anti-aging exercise, physical exercise can take a toll on aging bodies and joint support supplements can help. A good idea before embarking on any anti-aging exercise program is to see the doctor and make sure you’re up to it.

Such nutrients as folic acid, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, calcium, selenium and zinc are important defenses against stress and depression, too. Antioxidants such as lutein to protect our eyes and lycopene to protect our skin, especially when spending time out of doors, are also a good idea. A daily multivitamin and mineral supplement can help fortify our bodies, giving us the extra energy we need to get the most out of our ‘ecotherapeutic’ anti-aging exercise in the park.

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