And now the season to be jolly is upon us once again, let the annual feasts commence! However the aftermath of such merriment most commonly include headaches, confusion and a very tight pair of trousers that were lose in November.
But do not despair, as there is a simple solution to soothe the post-party blues, headaches and bloating: exercise.
A long walk in the countryside is always a fun sociable activity involving the whole family during the festive period, and here are 10 physical and psychological reasons why exercise will help to enhance and maintain the jolly festive feelings well into the new-year and beyond.
Physical Benefits of Outdoor Exercise
1. Moderate exercise improves fitness and stamina: As little as 30 minutes of brisk walking daily can enhance your fitness and stamina, making you look younger and giving you more energy for day-to-day tasks. For more information click here.
2. Walking reduces risk of disease: Walking at a fast pace for three hours at least once a week can lower your cholesterol, reducing your risk of heart disease by up to 65%, as well as preventing strokes, type two diabetes and arthritis. For more health information click here.
3. Exercise must be consistent: On average after 12 weeks of consistent exercising there will be noticeable changes in your body, and exercising in the morning will make you more active for the rest of the day. For details of benefits of exercise click here.
4. Physical benefits from hill walking: walking uphill can boost cardiovascular fitness, aid weight loss and increase muscle tone, most notably in your legs.
5. Exercise improves general health: According to research undergone by the University of Carolina, regular exercise decreased the risk of getting a cold by 23%!
Psychological Benefits of Outdoor Exercise
1. Exercise makes you happy: Exercise alters the levels of hormones such as norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin, which can affect mood and anxiety. Furthermore outside exercise improves your mood as fresh air releases endorphins and clears your head. For more about hormones click here.
2. Exercise aids the brain: Exercise increases blood flow to the brain, which stimulates nerve cells related to memory, and the constant changing environment when walking outdoors further stimulates the memory. For more detail click here.
3. Outdoor exercise benefits over indoor exercise one: The first benefit to walking or jogging outdoors is that research funded by the Economic and Social Research council (ESRC) shows that outdoor walks enjoying nature aids your coping with everyday stresses. For further information click here.
4. Outdoor exercise benefits over indoor exercise two: The natural environment can improve concentration and creativity. Dr Sowden of the School of Psychology at the University of Surrey states that the improving of attention and recovery from mental fatigue are important for creativity, which can be achieved through outdoor exercise. For more psychological benefits click here.
5. Exercise is Sociable: Walking or exercising in groups makes it more likely to repeat or regulate the weekly exercise, and further develop the positive energy released. Finally laughing out loud can reduce cortisol levels, which in turn can improve your bone density! For more fun facts about exercise click here.
Click here for a list of 10 great walks to try over the festive break.