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Exercising Alfresco

In "The Producers", the riotous Mel Brooks movie classic from 1968, the wily and almost washed-up Broadway producer Max Bialystock (played famously by Zero Mostel) takes timid accountant Leo Bloom (Gene Wilder) to lunch. Bialystock steers Bloom to a hotdog vendor's run-down sidewalk stand just outside an entrance to New York City's Central Park. "We're dining alfresco" Bialystock pompously intones, sardonically tracing a big, broad semicircle with his hotdog to symbolically include all the glories of being outdoors.

Of course, "alfresco" means out-of-doors or in the open air. In Italian, "fresco" means cool or fresh. Dining in the open air is often much more fun than having a meal indoors. The same may be said for exercise - whenever you have a choice, exercising "alfresco" is often much more enjoyable. Exercising outdoors is more rewarding for many people and also provides a wide range of unexpected benefits.

According to Federal agencies, the average American spends about 90% of her time indoors. Coupled with this assessment is the fact that three-quarters of Americans and one billion people worldwide have deficiencies in Vitamin D, a prime life-supporting and health-enhancing nutrient. Exercising outdoors for 30 minutes several times per week will assist your body in manufacturing more sufficient quantities of this important vitamin.

Additionally, spending time outside helps improve both physical and mental health. Regular exercise is associated with helping to prevent numerous health disorders, including obesity, diabetes, colon cancer, hip fracture, high blood pressure,1 cardiovascular conditions, and inflammatory conditions such as arthritis.2

Sunlight tends to improve a person's mood, so being outdoors is a natural boost to one's frame of mind. Adding exercise to the mix naturally enhances this psychologically elevated state. Since 2005 researchers at the University of Essex in the United Kingdom have focused on the benefits of "green exercise". In one study, participants engaging in a green outdoor walk described improvements in self-esteem, overall mood, and vigor. Confusion, fatigue, anger, and tension were all substantially reduced.3

Even viewing green and rural environments reduced blood pressure measurements by almost 9% in 100 treadmillers compared to those viewing blank screens or viewing urban images. If viewing green spaces is beneficial, actually being out-of-doors is likely to provide even greater benefit.

The bottom line? Being outdoors will enhance the value of most exercise activities. Green exercise will often impact a person's life in ways unlooked-for and by means unexpected.

1Martins RA, et al: Effects of aerobic and strength-based training on metabolic health indicators in older adults. Lipids Health Dis 9(1):76, 2010 [Epub ahead of print]
2Donges CE, et al: Effects of resistance or aerobic exercise training on interleukin-6, C-reactive protein, and body composition. Med Sci Sports Exerc 42(2):304-313, 2010
3Barton J, Pretty J. Urban ecology and human health and well-being. In Gaston K, et al. (eds): Urban Ecology. British Ecological Society and Cambridge University Press, 2010

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Reviews By Our Satisfied Patients

  • "I have been going to chiropractors off and on for many years but only when my back was hurting to a point where I had trouble walking due to the back pain. I’ve had a bad back off and on for as long as I can remember so I was anxious to find permanent relief. I started going to Dr. Kip about 2 years ago and after several months I was put on a maintenance program, initially twice a week and months later, once a week. Since I’ve been on the maintenance program, I’ve had no regular issues. These regular visits also have other benefits due to discussions with the Dr. and office staff and info on the “health T.V.”"
    -Ron R.
  • "I have been coming to see Dr. Kip for almost a year. I started coming in because of my back pain but I wasn’t really sure what chiropractic was or how it could help. Today I feel I have a much better understanding and that chiropractic is a very good and necessary asset of healing. My back pain is not so severe now. It feels better, and when it does begin to hurt I know what to do to make it better. The kindness and understanding of the office staff give the whole experience a calming and reassuring vibe."
    -Joycie G.
  • "Our family has been coming to see Dr. Kip for 2 years. We came in initially because Julie was having severe shoulder pain along with numbness in her arms. She thought it was linked to a problem in her neck. Brian suffered from migraines every few months. We didn’t know much about chiropractic care before. We’d had some in the past but never on a regular basis. I believe our family is healthier as a result of chiropractic care. In fact this year has been the healthiest year for our family with no sickness other than colds and Brian experiencing fewer migraines! We love the staff, of course, and the affordable care plan allows our entire family to receive care."
    -Brian K. and Family