It is well documented that physical activity has favorable health effects, but does it matter where you exercise? Are there more health benefits of exercising outdoors compared to indoors?
Some prefer working out in the gym or in the privacy of their own home, while others enjoy getting out for some fresh air. Exercise is good for you whether you prefer doing it indoors or outdoors. However, according to a systematic review that included more than 800 adults, outdoor exercise was associated with more health benefits compared to indoor activity.
Data from eleven controlled trials were included in the study. The results showed favorable effects on self- reported mental health after exercising outdoors. These effects were not seen after exercising indoors. Exercising outdoors was associated with decreased depression, anger and tension.
Depression is common and estimates suggest that in a family of four, one of the family members will likely suffer from mental health problems. Depression is even 3 times more common in patients after a heart attack than in the general population. Depression after a heart attack is bad not only because of the accompanying emotional distress, it also increases the risk of having another heart attack or premature death.
The biological level ageing results from the impact of the accumulation of a wide variety of molecular and cellular damage over time. But these changes are neither linear nor consistent, and they are only loosely associated with a person’s age in years. There is no ‘typical’ older person and some 80 year-olds have physical and mental capacities similar to many 20 year-olds.
However, as we grow older our bodies are changing. We may grow a little rounder around the waistline, or wake in the night, or feel a little stiffer in the morning. Most of us have to start to use glasses, and slowly our hear turns grey. Some even loose it. As we grow older increased forgetfulness that not is impairing our daily life is considered to be a part of the normal aging process. Generally, information processing also slows as we grow older, and older people have more trouble multitasking. However, research find that problems with memory, language, thinking and judgment that are greater than normal age-related changes, also called cognitive impairment may increase the risk of later progressing to dementia. Still, some people with mild cognitive impairment never get worse, and a few eventually get better.
Most people know that exercise is good for their physical health, but not everyone knows that it also has beneficial effects for cognitive functions and mental health. Cognitive performance decreases with old age, and a growing elderly population increases the amount of people that will get diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. In addition, mood related disorders are a major worldwide problem. Exercise can improve the lives of people who are at the risk of developing these brain-associated disorders.
Exercise can increase your memory
A study performed on elderly people showed that increased physical activity resulted in an enhanced memory performance. It did not matter if the increased activity came from organized training sessions or from routines embedded into the daily life such as walking to the supermarket, take the stairs instead of the elevator, and generally move around more in the house. One of the symptoms of diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s is impaired memory, and regular aerobic exercise is therefore recommended to prevent or delay the onset of these diseases.
We are very proud of her achievements, and wish her good luck with her future studies. She is currently working on new studies on fitness and mental health together with professor Steven Blair and associated professor Mei Sui at The Universityof South Carolina.
American College of Sports Medicine’s 62nd Annual Meeting, 6th World Congress on Exercise is Medicine® and World Congress on the Basic Science of Exercise Fatigue is held May 26-30, 2015 San Diego, California. This is the most comprehensive sports medicine and exercise science conference in the world with more than 6000 participants.
The price allows Dr. Ernstsen to work with, and learn from, the world-leading expert in “Exercise Epidemiology” Professor Steven Blair at Departments of Exercise Science and Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia, USA, for 3 months. Currently she lives in South Carolina and have already started her work with Professor Blair and his research group where the aim is to learn new methodological approaches within epidemiological and clinical research on the association between physical fitness, mental health and cognitive function.
On Friday May 29, she will be recognized and receive the price at the ACSM Awards Banquet. K.G. Jebsen Center of Exercise in Medicine is proud of Ernstsen´s achievement, wish her all the best of luck working at University of South Carolina, and look forward to get her back home with new knowledge that will benefit our research group.