Your BRIDGE back to being active at every age and stage

exercise outdoors

Physical Activity Outdoors — Wow, the Benefits!! 💚

The theme for this week …

In the Chicago area we have entered the best months of the year for outdoor activity. A bonus to being outside, in addition to being fun, are the benefits to our health — both physical and mental.

This is the first is a series about how being active outdoors can have specific health benefits for all ages! Read on …

The benefits of being physically active in the outdoors

In today’s stressful world we’ve let ourselves get somewhat disconnected from nature. In the past 10-15 years, there is an uptick in research on the benefits of exercising outdoors as compared to indoors.

Exercising in any environment imparts health benefits, but the question posed in the study below is, ‘are the benefits of being outdoors different because of the setting?’

The authors of this paper set out to answer just this question and their findings are published here. They found many benefits to being active in the outdoors. Here is a brief summary.

Physical health benefits included:

  • Reduction in hypertension.
  • Improvement in heart rate, BMI, and oxygenation uptake (VO2 max).
  • Lowered LDL levels.

Mental health benefits included:

  • Reduction in depression
  • Lower levels of cortisol, which is a stress marker

The study findings also identified questions for future research, such as:

  • Do different outdoor environments have similar benefits? (trees vs beach vs desert, and urban vs non-urban)
  • Do the benefits accrue similarly across all ages and genders?
  • Are the benefits independent of merely being active, regardless of the setting?

Clearly, these are important questions so expect to see emerging research on this topic in the coming years!

When pain or mobility concerns keep you from being outdoors, what can you do?

If an injury left you with pain or a lack of confidence in being out in nature, Bridging® may be able to help.

Why is Bridging® different?

Help for your pain, coordination, and balance comes from two unique parts of our solution:

Problem-solving: Taking the time to find the root cause of why you have a hard time with balance, walking, running, or rowing. It might be a long-forgotten injury!

Muscle reset process: The gentle rocking and stretching motion of Bridging® resets your muscle memory allowing you to move more confidently.

The whole goal is to enable you to be back out doing what is important to you!

Insight of the week from Cara

2020, outdoor activity, and new habits

I’ve been reflecting upon the impact of the 2020 Covid period recently. One big positive I’m grateful for are my daily walks in the woods.

As Covid put a hard stop to the routines and travel of our daily lives, I found myself going outdoors regularly for walks This added structure to my unstructured days. Being outdoors was also a way to find calm, and to burn off extra calories related to being at home with my kitchen and more time to cook.

New Habits

The impact to my well-being was so profound that I refused to stop once we were able to resume our ‘regular’ lives. In the past 4 years I’ve steadily logged 40+ miles of combined walking and running every single week.

And in the process my outdoor wear collection has significantly expanded to accommodate the cold and spring/fall rains. True to the saying, ‘there is no bad weather, only bad gear!’

Did the great pause of 2020 lead to positive physical activity changes in your life? I’d love to hear more.

How Bridging® helped me

The downside of being outdoors more? I managed to find a few rocks and hidden tree stumps that threw me off kilter. Yes, I fell of couple times. 🙁

The good news? I knew people to help. My team was able to smooth out movement glitches from the twisted ways I hit the ground. I knew it was bad enough to need attention when my:

  • Sleep was broken or restless
  • Sleep position was twisted
  • Walking or running felt slow or laborious
  • Walking or running was causing unusual muscle or joint stress
  • Or, my biometrics (HR, HRV, breathing rate, sleep quality) shown on my Oura ring were off