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Summer fun that’s secretly good for you

Summer is fun time. The warm weather and extra sunshine draw most of us outside. It’s the vacation season, too. Families head to the beach… the mountains… amusement parks. It’s hard not to enjoy this time of year.

Our habits change in the summer, too. And three of those seasonal habits could give your health a big boost.

Summer days are perfect for enjoying the outdoors. Nature walks, golf, swimming… there’s so much to do. And a recent study says being active outdoors is actually better for you.

A team from two British universities looked at decades of exercise research. They discovered that outdoor exercise has several advantages over indoor exercise.

Outdoor exercise reduces tension and anger better. People feel more energized and refreshed when they exercise outdoors. They enjoy their activities more, too… and are more motivated to repeat those activities.1

The team didn’t find any studies comparing the physical benefits of indoor and outdoor exercise. But I think the mental and emotional benefits are more than enough to make getting outdoors worthwhile.

Of course, all that activity can give you an appetite. And what takes the edge off your appetite better than fresh summer fruits? Especially sweet, juicy strawberries.

Strawberries are a lot more than tasty, though. For one thing, they’re loaded with antioxidants.

Italian and Spanish researchers recruited healthy volunteers to eat lots of strawberries for two weeks. When they did, the volunteers’ antioxidant levels went way up – especially vitamin C. But they saw another change, too.

The volunteers’ red blood cells – the cells that carry oxygen throughout your body – became more resistant to damage.2 and that could mean more oxygen to fuel all those summer activities.

So enjoy those summer strawberries. It’s one food indulgence that really pays off.

Okay… You’ve been active. You’ve satisfied your appetite. What comes next?

On a lazy summer afternoon, that would be a nap. And because it’s summer, a nap in a hammock.

Swiss scientists were curious about the age-old habit of rocking babies to sleep. Is there any benefit? Or is it just another tradition?

So they took a group of adults who had no sleep problems and asked them to take a nap.

Actually, they asked them to take two naps – one in a regular bed and one in a bed that rocked gently… like a hammock.

The scientists monitored the nappers’ brain activity, and discovered two things.

First, every single volunteer fell asleep faster in the gently swaying bed than in the standard bed. And they slept more deeply, too.

The swaying bed moved them into longer periods of “N2” sleep.3 N2 is a very deep stage of sleep that normally makes up about half of a good night’s rest. So the volunteers weren’t just getting more sleep in the swaying bed, they were getting better sleep.

If a hammock tempts you this summer, giving in may be just the thing to get you ready for more of those outdoor activities.

The best thing about these three summer habits is you’d probably want to do them anyway. All three are fun… and easy, too. And isn’t nice to know you can boost your health by having fun this summer?

Stay Healthy,

Best Life Herbals Wellness Team
Best Life Herbals

 

1 Coon JT, et al. Does Participating in Physical Activity in Outdoor Natural Environments Have a Greater Effect on Physical and Mental Wellbeing than Physical Activity Indoors? A Systematic Review. Environ. Sci. Technol., 2011, 45 (5), pp 1761–1772.

2 Tulipania S, et al. Strawberry consumption improves plasma antioxidant status and erythrocyte resistance to oxidative haemolysis in humans. Food Chemistry, Vol 128, No 1, 1 Sep 2011, Pages 180-186.

3 Bayer L, et al. Rocking synchronizes brain waves during a short nap. Current Biology, Vol 21, No 12, R461-R462, 21 June 2011.

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