Do you train clients outdoors? You may want to head for verdant forests and lush, grassy settings to boost participants’ mood and energy levels. Being exposed to the color green may be one reason why exercising in nature, also referred to as green exercise, produces physical and mental rewards beyond those that come from exercise alone. Studies have shown that green exercise improves mood, self-esteem, enjoyment and motivation.
The heart does remarkable work. Roughly the size of a human fist, the heart pumps blood every second of every day, delivering nutrients and oxygen to organs and tissues, and sending waste to filters in the kidneys, liver and lungs.
Yet not every heart works well. A healthy heart relies on a self-generating electrical signaling system to keep it pumping at the right pace; heart maladies that disrupt the signals can dramatically impact a client’s health. Collectively, we call these maladies heart arrhythmias.
In addition to getting a flu shot, you may want to exercise or meditate consistently to help protect yourself against winter colds and flus. New research shows that simple preventive measures like engaging in daily physical activity or mindfulness meditation may be almost as effective as a flu vaccine for lowering the odds of succumbing to an acute respiratory infection.
In the past decade, researchers have been using modern technology to study how meditation affects the structure of the brain. They have found that between controls and meditators, there are differences in both gray matter (tissue containing neuronal cell bodies) and white matter (the connective tissue between regions of the brain).
What helps someone become happier depends on the person, says researcher Sonja Lyubomirsky. “However, when we research strategies, the two that are often at the top of the list are physical activity and acts of kindness,” she says. “They seem to work better because they’re more tangible.”
The October issue asked readers for examples of how they are integrating mindfulness practices into classes [Mind-Body-Spirit News]. I work at a university and run a variety of programs in fitness and wellness. One series we are doing this semester is a “Reflective Hike to Yoga” series.