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Huntsville    Madison    Jones Valley   Decatur   
Toll Free 1-800 GoChiro or 1-800-462-4476
Dr Greg Millar;  Dr Ken Randolph; 
Dr Dana Berthiaume; Dr Justin Walbom

Exercising Outdoors

Chiropractic Care and Green Exercise

Chiropractic care is the perfect complement to any regular exercise program. Vigorous exercise makes numerous demands on the body, and many people will quickly come up against various physical limitations they didn't know they had.

We want our exercise time to not only be productive, but also fun. We want to have the experience of time well spent. Exercise is definitely not fun if it is regularly followed by aches and pains. "No pain, no gain" is an outmoded, inaccurate, false notion that unfortunately has made its way into the collective unconscious of many people, athletes and non-athletes alike.

Chiropractic care helps ensure that you get the most out of your investment in exercise. Chiropractic care helps ensure that your musculoskeletal system is working properly. When your body is working effectively, exercise helps you get healthier and fitter. You're able to train with maximum effort and get the most out of your exercise time.

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 outside 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. Vitamin D is one of the most important nutrients needed to prevent many common diseases, and it is produced by the body in response to the UVB rays in sunlight.  Exercising outdoors for 30 minutes in the midday sun several times per week will assist your body in manufacturing more sufficient quantities of this important vitamin.  See the Vitamin D Council's recommendations for maximizing Vitamin D production with sunlight exposure.
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 positively impact a person's life in many unexpected ways.

In the Tennessee Valley, we are very fortunate to be blessed with mild winters and wonderfully long spring and fall seasons, which makes this area particularly enjoyable for outdoor exercisers. 

If you're out of shape, haven't exercised for a while, and/or have any health problems - be sure to get your doctor's approval before starting any exercise program.  And if you need to, you can start off slowly with just a short walk around your neighborhood. 

As you increase your stamina, you may enjoy increasingly challenging hikes in some of the local parks and greenways.  The Creekwood Park Greenway is a favorite among those who work in Research park and also offers a Disk Golf Course. LocalHikes.com is a great resource for local hiking trails, with maps and reviews.  It lists two local trails that are rated "easy" - the Burritt Nature Trail which is 1 mile, and the Monte Sano North Plateau Loop which is 1.5 miles.  Another terrific resource for local hiking is the Land Trust of North Alabama which hosts various guided hikes at different ability levels, such as their Wildflower Stroll on Rainbow Mountain in Madison.  Check out the Huntsville Parks and Recreation page for some more suggestions.

What if you would love to go hiking or biking in the great outdoors, but don't have anyone to share the experience with and don't want to do it alone?   The Tennessee Valley Adventure Group on Meetup.com has over one thousand local members who enjoy various outdoor activities, including hiking, biking, climbing, paddling, and swimming among other more adventurous pursuits.

Whatever you do, get outside and enjoy this beautiful North Alabama weather!

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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Dr Greg Millar DC CCEP;  Dr Ken Randolph DC ASBCE; 
Dr Dana Berthiaume DC; Dr Justin Walbom DC