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The Great Outdoors

The Great Outdoors

Posted - Aug. 31, 2010 at 12:44 a.m.



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If you're feeling run-down, an energy boost and mental pick-me-up may be waiting for you outside. Hi, I'm Dr. Cindy Haines, host of HealthDay TV.

This time of year, the warm weather inspires many people to walk, hike, canoe, ride their bikes or just wander through nature. And new research in the Journal of Environmental Psychology finds that journeying through the great outdoors may be great for our energy level.
The researchers conducted several studies with college students as the participants. The participants walked down indoor hallways or outside along a river, looked at pictures of buildings or landscapes, imagined themselves in different settings, and kept diaries tracking how often they went outside.
In general, people felt more energetic in natural settings, either in real-life or when they were using their imagination. Simply being outdoors for at least 20 minutes was linked to a greater sense of vitality. Being surrounded by nature - as opposed to simply being outside - seemed to have a particular energy-boosting effect.
Exercise can have mood-lifting benefits, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that adults get 2 1/2 hours of moderate aerobic physical activity each week. Heading out to a nearby park, trail system, or other soothing natural setting could do good for both your body and mind.
I'm Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV, with the news that doctors are reading; health news that matters to you.

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