Love Your Body And Fuel Yourself Right!

There are many days that I do fasted workouts. I always make sure though that I get a good quality meal afterwards. If you are doing fasting workouts you need to make sure you get something in you at least 30 to 60 after your fasted workout. This prevents muscle catabolism and replenishes your energy stores, otherwise your body will break down muscle tissue for energy. 


Love your body and fuel yourself with something wholesome and nutritious. Make sure you have a good combination of quality protein, good fat and a little bit of carbs. 


Everything in this meal can be prepped ahead for a quick and easy meal. I pre-boiled a bunch of eggs for the week and made a big bowl of spiralized squash noodles for my meals. I always have some kind of vegetable in my kitchen ready to eat and then I topped this plate off with delicious spicy avocado hummus. IMG_20150916_132955

My Top 5 Benefits Of Hiking!

hike#1We all know hiking is good for you, right? But do you know just how good it is? If you are heading out for a hike this Labor Day weekend, take note of all the good you are doing for your body.

For me hiking is therapeutic, it clears my mind and fills my soul with happiness. I love escaping from the city out into the peaceful surroundings of nature, exploring somewhere new and being amazed by the beautiful views around each corner.  I always come back from a hike feeling rejuvenated. With all that being said, hiking is also an amazing workout! You don’t need to always hit the gym to get a great workout in. Hiking is great for building muscle endurance and increasing your cardiovascular abilities.  I realize that not everyone has hiking trails where they live, but if you do, take advantage of this great form of movement and get out and HIKE!

 Here Are My

TOP 5 

BENEFITS OF HIKING!

#1:

Challenges your lower body strength and endurance. Specifically your glutes, quadriceps and hamstrings. The steeper the climb the more you are going to work those legs!If you are carrying a pack, you will also work those upper body muscle too.

#2:

Boost your bone density. Walking/hiking is a great form of a weight-bearing exercising. It’s important that you incorporate some kind of weight-bearing exercising throughout your week, this will encourages healthy bone structure and reduces the chances of osteoporosis.

#3:

Improve your mood. Being in nature is engrained in our DNA and we sometimes forget that. Hiking in nature will help you feel closer to nature and it’s natural rhythms which may increase your happiness and help you feel more fulfilled.

#4:

Improve your balance. The rugged and varied terrain of most hiking trails forces your body to stabilize itself, in time improving your balance and co-ordination.

#5:

Gain a feeling of achievement. A difficult hike like a steep hill or mountain can make you feel like you’ve achieved something more table than completing a circuit class at the gym. There is something empowering about getting to the top of a big hill or mountain. You are usually rewarded with some kind beautiful view too. hike#2

 

Why Should You Eat Cauliflower?

CauliflowerI love eating and cooking with this delicious and nutritious white beauty! Cauliflower has a subtle low-key flavor which might be boring by itself, but when added to other spices or paired with a dip, it seems to light up with flavor. I love using it as a substitute for many different dishes like pizza crust, hamburger buns, mashed potatoes, sauces and soups. I seriously think the possibilities are endless when in comes to using cauliflower.

So, why should you eat this stuff?

  • Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable – such as kale, broccoli and cabbage. These vegetables are great for cancer prevention because they provide powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients.
  • Cauliflower is a great detoxifier.
  • Cauliflowers is an anti-inflammatory. The anti-inflammatory properties come from the Omega-3 fatty acids and high levels of vitamin K.
  • Cauliflower is a wonderful source of vitamin C. 1 cup of steamed cauliflower provides about 90% of the recommended daily amount.
  • Cauliflower is an excellent source of folate & fiber. It has 9 grams of fiber for every 100 calories!
  • Cauliflower is a good source of choline, a B vitamin known for its role in brain development.

What kind of cauliflower should I cook with?

  • White cauliflower is the most common color you will find and it works great with all the recipes. You will also find a variety of different colors, each color will have a subtle flavor difference. Try using the different colors to make your dish even more colorful. With the different colors you will also find that each of them have a slightly different nutrient content due to its color.
  • Try these other colors – Purple, Orange and Green.
  • Purple – Cooks a little faster than white and has a slightly milder flavor. It’s color comes from anthocyacins, which is the same cancer fighting phytonutrients found in beets, blueberries and raisins. It is also higher in Vitamin A than white cauliflower. When you eat or drink phytonutrients, they may help prevent disease and keep your body working properly.
  • Orange – Taste a little sweeter, milder and creamier than white cauliflower. Orange cauliflower has 25% more beta-carotene than white.  The human body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A (retinol) – beta-carotene is a precursor of vitamin A. We need vitamin A for healthy skin and mucus membranes, our immune system, and good eye health and vision.
  • Green – A cross between cauliflower and broccoli. When it is cooked it taste more like broccoli.

Cauliflower Nutrition Facts

1 Medium Head (5-6 inches in diameter)​

Calories 146

Total Fat 1.6 g

Sodium 176 mg

Potassium 1,758 mg

Total Carbohydrate 29 g

Dietary fiber 12 g

Sugar 11 g

Protein 11 g

For the next week I will post 3 or more NEW cauliflower recipes for you to try! If you’ve never tried cooking with cauliflower before, it’s time for you to get out of your comfort zone and experiment with some of these recipes. If you just want to incorporate cauliflower into your diet without trying to make anything fancy, try eating it raw with humus, lightly steam it, roast it in the oven or lightly sauté it in olive oil or butter.DSC_0029 DSC_0022

Cauliflower Hamburger Buns

Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes

Roasted Vegetables

12 Ways To Start Your Day Off Happy & Successful

DSC00230I believe in order to make your day a positive and successful one, you need to first begin each morning setting your day up for happiness and success.  If you wake up stressed, grumpy and dreading the day, you will most likely spend the rest of your day in that same state of mind. Happiness or being positive does not come naturally and easy for everyone, so it’s important that you are conscious about doing things that bring positiveness into your life. Our THOUGHTS create our EMOTIONS! Since you have the power to control your thoughts and emotions (even though it may not seem like it at times), you also have the power to start you day off on a positive note each and every day.

My challenge for you is to pick 2-3 of these to practice for the next couple of weeks. Start making the ones you chose a habit in your morning routine and see how your day might change. I believe it will definitely change for the better if you are open to starting your day out with positive habits that will set you up for success. 

1. Practice Gratitude Every Morning.

Whether you spend each morning writing down 3-5 things you’re grateful for or you talk to the one you love about what your grateful for, it makes a huge difference to spend that time focusing on things that make you happy and fulfilled in life. It can be anything as simple as a beautiful sunset, the sound of your children laughing, a good cup of coffee or a friend who helped you out. Many of us get caught up in the cycle of negative thinking, and forget to remember how good we may actually have it.

2. Get Up & Move.

There is something about starting your day off moving your body whether your outside running or practicing yoga in the comfort of you home. Moving or exercising can be anything you love doing that gets your body moving and heart pumping. Exercise releases endorphins, which is a feel good hormone, who doesn’t want some of those!!! Willpower is also the strongest in the morning, so the likelihood of you getting out later in the day can be slim due to that fact that life can get in the way, and sometimes the last things you want to do after work is exercise. So, schedule in your excise time and get it done in the morning. DSC00050

3. Stay Off Social Media.

I found myself getting in the habit each morning of looking on social media right when I woke up, silly right! I’m not saying that you should not look at social media, but it shouldn’t be the first thing your thoughts go to each morning. If you need to read something, read a good book or article instead.

4. Spend Some Time Mediating.

Once you get into meditation routine you may feel your life becoming more peaceful, feel more in-tune with your body and surroundings, have a greater sense of being and have the ability to focus on what you need and want in life. I am in no way a seasoned meditator, but I have found that on the morning I do try to meditate it seems to help my day run smoother and I feel more at peace. meditation

5. Read An Inspiring Book Or Article.

Reading something inspiring and motivating in the morning is bound to get you revved up and ready to tackle the day, there are also many podcast that are great to listen too also. It’s important to constantly  strive to keep learning and being inspired each and every day. Stretch and grow your mind each morning. Find something that inspires you and spend some time reading it or listening to it.

6. Enjoy Your Surrounds & Breath In The Fresh Air.

I realize that we all live in different surrounding. Anything from bustling cities, beautiful suburbs and quite countryside. Wherever you live, try to find the beauty in it and ENJOY it! Get outside for a moment and breathe slowly and appreciate the beautiful earth you live in. If you live in a city that does not have fresh air, just pretend it is fresh air you’re breathing in. 🙂

7. Spend Time Making A Healthy Breakfast.

In order for your mind and body to work properly you need to fuel yourself with the right food. You body can not run on garbage for long, so don’t rush out the door with a donut in your hand, but take a few minutes and actually make yourself a nutritious breakfast. Your body will thank you. DSC_0002

8. Wake Up In A Clean Room.

When your surroundings are cluttered, your mind feels cluttered. Clean up your room and you will notice the energy in your room feeling more peaceful and calm. If if struggle with messiness, try taking simple steps, like hanging your towel up right after you shower or never leaving for work unless you bed is made. I am a mom of 4 kids and messiness can be common at my home, but I find that I am happier when my house is clean and organized.

9. Forget About The Mistakes Of Yesterday.

We all sometimes dwell on the past and all of our shortcoming. We think about what we DID NOT do yesterday, instead of focusing on what we WILL DO today. We may of had complete failures yesterday, but today is a new day for success and adventures.

10. Write Down Some Micro Goals.

I am a big believe in goals. There is something about writing them down and accomplishing them throughout the day. It’s important to make them simple. These are micro goals, nothing that can’t be accomplished during the day, but something that challenges you and makes you a better person. Some of the most successful people start their day with a list of what they need to do. Benjamin Franklin started his day off with a list of what he wanted to accomplished throughout the day. If you look below you can see his  list. I love that the questions he asked himself each morning  “What good shall I do this Day?” and in the evening he asked “What good have I done today?” Make sure some of the goals you put down are ones that will help you and others around you. benfranklin

11. Ask Yourself “How Can I Make This Day Amazing?”

It’s a simple question, but it’s so powerful. By simply asking yourself “How can I make today amazing?” you make yourself realize that you are in control of how your day goes and how you feel about it. Then, do the things to make it amazing! Sounds kind of silly right, but who cares! The more you focus on yourself and constantly making your life better the more it will actually become the amazing life you strive for.

12. Begin Each Day With A Smile.

Simple, if you wake up frowning and grumpy that frown will most likely stay the rest of the day. Even if you don’t feel like smiling, look at yourself in the mirror and force a smile out and eventually a real one just might appear, and stay too. smiley_face

Morning Detox Smoothie

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What does your breakfast usually look like, are you pulling out the cereal or grabbing for the muffins and donuts? If you are eating a quick and unhealthy breakfast each morning, then it’s time to change. Start your day off right with something that’s going to give you energy, not leave you needing more energy later on in the day. With just a little extra time in the mornings you can make a delicious and nutrition meal. If you’re short on time each morning, try prepping the night before to save on time.

This smoothie is a great idea for breakfast. Not only does it taste good, but it’s packed full of nutritious ingredients. The avocado is full of good fats which will help keep you full. The ginger and lemon are great for detoxifying you body. Ginger helps cleanse the body by stimulating digestion, circulation and sweating. Its digestive actions may help cleanse the build-up of waste and toxins in the colon, liver and other organs. WOW, makes you want to eat more ginger, right? The banana will add some carbs to boost your energy and replenish any depleted energy stores that might have been lost throughout the night. And the last but not least, the greens, blueberries and cucumbers are packed full of vitamins and minerals.

Instructions:

  1. Add all of the ingredients below into a blender.
  2. Blend until everything is completely smooth.
  3. Drink up and ENJOY!!!

morning detox

If you have kids, don’t forgot about their health too! Start their morning off right with this smoothie.
DSC00652Check this website out. In the article it talks about the health benefits of ginger.

 https://www.positivehealthwellness.com/diet-nutrition/15-wonderful-health-benefits-ginger/

Do This Every Sunday

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I love Sundays, it’s a day I spend with my family, go to church, Explore some of the outdoors, and plan ahead what I need to get done for the upcoming week. Every Sunday my husband and I sit down with our kids and talk about our goals for the upcoming week and what we accomplished last week. It’s a great time to sit down as a family and listen to my children talk about what’s important to them.

I am a HUGE believer in goals, realistic goals that is. It’s important to take a step back and look at your life. What do you want to accomplish, who do you want to be, and how can you better yourself. Many of us tend to get stuck in limbo where we do not have any direction of what we want or where we are going. Making simple but effective goals will help guide you in the direction you want to go. Wether your goals are related to fitness, health, or lifestyle, having a written down list of you want to do will help you reach what you desire.

I recently read an article from one of my mentors Todd Durkin about what he does every Sunday. He calls it his W.L.A.G. This will help you plan your week and be more efficient with your time and energy.

WLAG’s Stand for:

  • W- Wins” of the past week
  • L– “Lossess” of the past week
  • A– “Aha” moments of the past week
  • Goals” for the upcoming week

Wins or losses of the past week allow you to pause for a moment on what you did and didn’t accomplish that week. It puts you into a reflective and present state of mind versus thinking “what’s next.”

Aha’s simple allows you to go deeper and think about any/all moments of the last week that made you stop in your tracks or catch your breath.

For example “my aha’s” of this last week:

  • Watching my son build a battle ship out of Lego’s and being amazed by his creativity. 
  • Taking communion at my church and feeling overwhelmed with love from my savior. 

And finally you will write your “GOALS” for the upcoming week. The “GOALS” are simply what you will accomplish in the next 7 days. Don’t make your list too big, but try to limit it down to 3-5 goals that MUST be done this week.

Planning your week is vitally important and will set you up for a successful day and week. Start now by spending some time this Sunday and do your WLAG’s.”

Check out Todd’s website for some more great information.

What To Eat Before & After Your Workout

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Nutrition and hydration are two crucial factors that set you up for success when it come to your workouts. It’s important that you fuel your body pre and post workout with proper nutrition so you can get the most out of you workouts with the energy you need and help rebuild your muscle after you have broken them down.

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Pre-Workout Snacks or Meal 

Try these snacks 30-60 minutes before you exercise. You need a combination of easily digestible carbs and a healthy source of protein. The carbohydrates are going to help you get a quick fuel boost and the protein will initiate muscle recovery. If you have stomach problems when you eat before you exercise, then choose a smaller snack or try a snack 60 minutes before your workout. It’s important to listen to your body and what works best for you.

  1. Organic Greek yogurt and fresh berries
  2. Bananas & almond butter
  3. Handful of nuts with unsweetened coconut shreds or a small amount of raisins.
  4. Natural fruit leather 
  5. Hardboiled eggs with a side of fruit
  6. Organic cottage cheese & melons
  7. Small protein shake
  8. Half of an avocado on 1 slice of bread or rice cake (choose a gluten free, spouted, or organic bread and a natural rice cake)

    Post-Workout Snacks or Meal

Make sure you time your post workout snack or meal appropriately. You need to replenish the muscles you have just broken down to help them recover faster and aid in the building up of your muscle fibers. Carbohydrates will help replenish your glycogen (energy) stores which you may have used up during your workout. Be sure to recharge with plenty of healthy protein and some form of carbohydrate 20-60 minutes after you workout. The size of your post-workout meal/snack will depend on how hard or long you exercised and the time of day.

  1. Veggie omelet
  2. Grilled chicken and sweet potato 
  3. grilled shrimp and brown rice
  4. Tuna or sardines on a salad
  5. Protein Shake
  6. Lentil or bean soup
  7. Hummus & veggie sticks
  8. Almond butter & banana sandwich (choose a gluten free, spouted, organic bread or a natural rice cake)
  9. Dates & nut butter.

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Is Sitting Killing You?

The one thing I always ask my clients during our assessment is “how long do you sit during the day?” When you sit for long periods of time it can affect your body in many different ways, and not for the good. There are more and more studies are coming out on the effects of long-term sitting on your body. So if you spend most of your day sitting, this post is for you.

business-man_sitting_at_desk.gif

 

Effects of Sitting –

In this latest study by, Daniela Schmid and Michael F. Leitzmann of the University of Regensburg in Germany analyzed 43 observational studies, amounting to more than 4 million people’s answers to questions about their sitting behavior and cancer incidences. The researchers examined close to 70,000 cancer cases and found that sitting is associated with a 24% increased risk of colon cancer, a 32% increased risk of endometrial cancer, and a 21% increased risk of lung cancer.

Disease

The pancreas produces insulin, a hormone that carries glucose to cells for energy. But cells in idle muscles don’t respond as readily to insulin, so the pancreas produces more and more, which can lead to diabetes and other diseases. A 2011 study found a decline in insulin response after just one day of prolonged sitting.

Muscles burn less fat and blood flows more sluggishly during a long sit, allowing fatty acids to more easily clog the heart. Prolonged sitting has been linked to high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol, and people with the most sedentary time are more than twice as likely to have cardiovascular disease than those with the least.

TIGHT HIPS

Flexible hips help keep you balanced, but chronic sitters so rarely extend the hip flexor muscles in front that they become short and tight, limiting range of motion and stride length. Studies have found that decreased hip mobility is a main reason elderly people tend to fall.

Sitting requires your glutes to do absolutely nothing, and they get used to it. When you have weak glutes you lack the ability to perform many exercise with correct form, loose stability and

FOGGY BRAIN

Moving muscles pump fresh blood and oxygen through the brain and trigger the release of all sorts of brain- and mood-enhancing chemicals. When we are sedentary for a long time, everything slows, including brain function.

STRAINED NECK

If most of you’re sitting occurs at a desk at work, craning your neck forward toward a keyboard or tilting your head to cradle a phone while typing can strain the cervical vertebrae and lead to permanent imbalances.

SORE SHOULDERS AND BACK

The neck doesn’t slouch alone. Slumping forward overextends the shoulder and back muscles as well, particularly the trapezius, which connects the neck and shoulders.

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How Does Sitting Effect Your Future

Immediately After Sitting

Right after you sit down, the electrical activity in your muscles slows down and your calorie burning rate drops to one calorie per minute.  This is about a third of what it does if you’re walking. If you sit for a full 24-hour period, you experience a 40% reduction in glucose uptake in insulin, which can eventually cause type 2 diabetes.

After Two Weeks of Sitting for More Than Six Hours a Day

Within five days of changing to a sedentary lifestyle, your body increase plasma triglycerides, LDL (bad cholesterol), and insulin resistance . This means your muscles aren’t taking in fat and your blood sugar levels go up, putting you at risk for weight gain. After just two weeks your muscles start to atrophy and your maximum oxygen consumption drops. This makes stairs harder to climb and walks harder to take. Even if you were working out every day the deterioration starts the second you stop moving.

After One Year of Sitting More Than Six Hours a Day

After a year, the longer term effects of sitting can start to manifest subtly. According to this study by Nature, you might start to experience weight gain and high cholesterol. Studies in woman suggest you can lose up to 1% of bone mass per year by sitting for over six hours a day.

After 10-20 Years of Sitting More Than Six Hours a Day

Sitting for over six hours a day for a decade or two can cut away about seven quality life years  (the kind you want). It increases your risk of  dying of heart disease by 64% and your overall risk of prostate or breast cancer increases by 30%.

In the same study listed above done by Daniela Schmid and Michael F. Leitzmann of the University of Regensburg in Germany, it showed that you can’t exercise away the sittings harmful effects. “Adjustment for physical activity did not affect the positive association between sedentary behavior and cancer,”  Even participants who achieved the daily recommended levels of physical activity were at the same risk as those who spent their day sitting. “[The results] indicate that the increased risk of cancer seen in individuals with prolonged time spent sedentary is not explained by the mere absence of physical activity in those persons,” the researchers say.

Take a look at these short videos on the effects that sitting all day has on your body and health.

http://youtu.be/F0rB9AoD2Ek
http://youtu.be/GSO6g3dNR7s

What Should You Do?

  • Get up and walk around every 30-60 minutes.
  • Get up and do some chair exercising. Here’s a link to a great chair workout.
  • Try a standing desk.
  • Walk more during your lunch break.
  • Get up and stretch.
  • Do something active instead of watching t.v.
  • Anytime your on an office call stand up and pace around to talk.
  • Take micro breaks and march in place for 30 seconds or touch your toes 20 times.
  • Get up and move around during commercial brakes while watching t.v.
  • Set a timer on your phone to remind you throughout the day to get up.
  • When browsing your computer, do it standing up.
  • Wander around and pick up or reorganize your desk (eventually your desk area may even be clean)

The most important thing to remember is not to stress about all this information. Taking little steps at a time will help you in the long run. 

 

Benefits Of Exercising Outdoors

IMG_2407I live in Utah, so when the Summertime hits one of my favorite places to exercise is up in the mountains. You do not need to stick with the gym to get a great workout in. It does not even need to be mountains, just head outdoors. You can run, hike, walk, bike, kayak, paddle board or anything that gets your body moving outside. One of my favorites now is to get out to the mountains on my morning runs when the sun is just peaking over the mountains, the air is crisp, my mind is clear and the surrounding are beautiful! It is such an exhilarating way to start your day. I also find when I am going for a longer run I can mentally go longer up in the mountains than I can down in the city, time seems to go by fast and before I know it my long run is done. On those days when I am feeling built up stress in my life, getting outdoors seems to help calm me down. My mind feels clearer and the little stresses in life seem to lot not matter as much. Read below and you will find out the science behind why you might feel that way.

We all have amazing, beautiful and unique bodies that should get out and enjoy the beauty that is in the great outdoors. Below is a great article from the Huffington Post written by Abigail Wise on ways the outdoors make us healthier.

Here’s Proof Going Outside Makes You Healthier

Summer is here, and we’re all for burgers, ocean breezes and an ice cream cone or two. But getting outside is about more than beaches and barbecues. Science shows that spending time in the great outdoors can actually make you healthier. Escaping to the woods, mountains or even your neighborhood park helps both your body and your brain.

Here are seven ways the outdoors make us healthier.

Getting outside makes exercise easier.
Research conducted at the University of Essex showed that the color green, such as that found on trees, grass and other plants in nature, makes exercise feel easier. The small study tested cyclists pedaling in front of green, gray and red images. Those exercising in front of the green showed less mood disturbances and reported that they felt lower exertion during their cycling. Plus, other research showed that those who exercise outside are more eager to return for a future workout than those who stick to the gym.

It can spur weight loss. 
hiking mountains
When John Muir wrote, “Climb the mountains and get their good tidings” in theMountains of California, we kind of doubt he was talking about dropping a few pounds. But as it turns out, not only are the outdoors great for making exercise feel easier and often more enjoyable, but some outdoor elements — like those mountains — directly contribute to weight loss. Simply spending time at high altitude could help shed some pounds, even if you’re just visiting. The higher heights can speed up your metabolism, while actually lessening hunger cravings. So go ahead and plan those mountain escapes, hiking adventures and ski trip getaways.

Nature increases brain function.
Taking in a bit of nature can help your brain in more than one way. For starters, logging outdoor hours may increase concentration skills. One study compared concentration between children with ADHD who played outside, versus those who played inside, after school and on weekends. Kids who spent time in green, outdoor spaces reported fewer symptoms of ADHD, even when the exact same activities were compared.

Taking a stroll can also increase creativity. Research published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology found that walking increases creative production. And while walking anywhere — whether through the woods or in a mall — is beneficial in that it prompts creativity, researchers found that the actual act of spending time outside also influences novelty.

Plus, all of that fresh air is a quick way to kick your brain into high gear. Ditch the caffeine and stick to a walk in the park. Some say that 20 minutes outside can wake you up just as much as one cup of coffee can.

It amps up vitamin D intake.
beach sun
Vitamin D can be a tricky nutrient to get enough of strictly from foods, because so few naturally carry it, so most of us soak up between 80 to 90 percent of our sunshine vitamin from those golden rays, Dr. Michael F. Holick, M.D., Ph.D. tells The Huffington Post in an article on vitamin D deficiency. And while we all know to protect ourselves from the sun to avoid skin cancer, we also need vitamin D for bone growth, cell growth, inflammation reduction and neuromuscular and immune function. Unfortunately, your skin can only drink in the D from unprotected exposure. That’s why Holick suggests what he calls “sensible sun exposure.” That means only going out in the sun for about one third to one half of the amount of time it would take your skin to mildly burn, or roughly 10 to 15 minutes for many. After you’ve gotten a bit of vitamin D, reach for the sunscreen, grease up and continue your exploration of the great outdoors.

The outdoors may even help us age gracefully.
Research published in the Journal of Aging Health shows that getting outside on a daily basis may help older people stay healthy and functioning longer. Participants in the study who spent time outdoors every day at age 70 showed fewer complaints of aching bones or sleep problems, among other health-related problems, at age 77 than those who did not head outside each day.

Outdoor activities that revolve around group-oriented exercises or hobbies have their own benefits for older people. Research shows that gardening can help dementia and stroke patients improve social skills and confidence, while even increasing mobility and dexterity.

Nature is great for stress-reduction. 
pine needles
Spending time in nature has been shown to lower stress levels, Seattle-based environmental psychologist Judith Heerwagon tells The Huffington Post. “Just looking at a garden or trees or going for a walk, even if it’s in your own neighborhood, reduces stress,” she says. “I don’t think anyone understands why, but there’s something about being in a natural setting that shows clear evidence of stress reduction, including physiological evidence — like lower heart rate.”

One reason Mother Nature may work as such a great stress-buster is through scent. The smell of many flowers, including jasmine, lilacs and roses, have beenproven to decrease stress and increase relaxation. The scent of fresh pine has even been shown to lower depression and anxiety.

The outdoors make us happy.
In addition to helping decrease stress levels, spending more time with nature shows a shift toward more positive moods, says Heerwagon. While we don’t know exactly why this happens in our bodies, “the theory is that we respond positively to things that are good for us,” she tells The Huffington Post. “Trees offer shade, protection and often have fruits and nuts, so they are a source of food as well as protection and comfort.” The idea is that we like things that are inherently good for us and our survival, which is why trees and other natural elements can help lift our moods.