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Outdoor Workouts Trump the Gym
August 2011

Boost Mental and Physical Well-Being

OutdoorRunningWhen deciding whether to run on a treadmill in the gym of jog in a nearby park, opt for the park, suggests a recent study published in the research journal, Environmental Science & Technology.

The study authors—a team at the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry—say exercising outdoors not only appears to promote physical health, but boosts mental well-being, as well. The team analyzed data from a number of sources, including 11 randomized and non-randomized control trials incorporating information from 833 adults.

The study found that exercising in natural environments decreased feelings of tension, confusion, anger and depression, while increasing feelings of revitalization, increased energy and positive engagement. Study participants that exercised outdoors also reported greater enjoyment and satisfaction and stated that they were more likely to repeat their exercise activity.

 
Green Dads
August 2011

Moving Sustainability from Niche to Normal

GreenDadA new dimension of sustainable fathering is emerging among Americans. According to a consumer trend report by EcoFocus Worldwide, Make Way for EcoAware Dads, 65 percent of the nation’s 36 million dads agree that, “When my kids are grown, I want them to remember me as teaching them to be environmentally responsible.”

Eco-aware dads want their family’s home and lifestyle to be safe, efficient and responsible, and they see room for improvement: Only 16 percent are very satisfied with how green or eco-friendly their lifestyles are today.

“For an eco-aware dad, this is all very integrated and very personal to his role as a father,” explains Lisa Harrison, the research leader for EcoFocus. “For example, while he may have insulated his family’s home for economic reasons first, the secondary benefit is in quality of life, because the home becomes a quieter and more comfortable living space.” More than eight in 10 agree that being eco-friendly is a way to improve quality of life for themselves and their families.

Eco-aware dads realize that changes sometimes take big investments of both time and money, and they are concerned about affordability. Still, they see prospects for big payoffs; 83 percent have already changed the way they do things to make choices that are better for the environment.

 
The Fattening Secret of Fructose
August 2011

A Factor in Nationwide Obesity and Diabetes Epidemic

FructoseSodaReading labels reveals that many foods and beverages—even so-called healthy ones—contain fructose, often in the form of high-fructose corn syrup, as a sweetener. Health experts have long suspected that fructose is a factor in the nationwide obesity and diabetes epidemic, and new research from the Oregon Health & Science University supports the connection.

Researchers gave nine normal-weight study participants separate infusions of fructose and glucose (simple sugars) and then used magnetic resonance imaging to observe brain reactions. Glucose activated areas of the brain associated with regulating food intake and satiety—its “reward circuitry”—while fructose inhibited brain response in those areas.

The study concludes that this important difference may explain why fructose consumption, which deactivates the brain’s normal satiation response, appears to increase obesity and diabetes.

 
Stand Up Paddling
July 2011

No Surf Required

PaddleboadingWhile some frustrated commuters are inching along on rush hour highways, hoping to afterward work off stress at overcrowded gyms, others are stopping off at the nearest lake, river or bay for a workout that many call therapeutic. Promoted by Olympic athletes, moms and septuagenarians alike as an effective total body workout and mental release, stand up paddling, or SUP, is the fastest-growing sport across the nation, according to the Outdoor Industry Association.

Stand up paddling was first developed by improvisational Hawaiian “beach boys,” that would stand on surfboards and use outrigger paddles to navigate alongside tourists learning how to surf. However, the sport can be enjoyed with or without waves or wind on virtually any body of water because the paddler, rather than Mother Nature, provides propulsion. It’s luring enthusiasts of other water sports as well; surfers, kiteboarders and windsurfers appreciate new opportunities to get on the water more often, while canoeists and kayakers enjoy the alternative of standing.

 
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