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Green Exercise To Boost Your Memory

Updated on February 12, 2016

Green Exercise Helps Improve Vitality and Provides a Sense of Well Being

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Learning is the acquisition of information, and memory is retention and storage of that information. Memory can be divided into two basic forms, that include the following:

  1. Explicit memory: Also called the declarative or recognition memory, it is associated with consciousness and awareness. It is further classified into memory for events (episodic memory) and memory for words, rules and language (semantic memory).
  2. Implicit memory: Better known as non-declarative or reflexive memory, it does not involve awareness and includes skills and habits, which once acquired, become unconscious and automatic.

The key to memory is an alteration in the strength of selected synaptic connections between nerve cells or neurons of the brain.

Another more practical classification of memory based on duration includes the following types:

  1. Working or short term memory, which lasts seconds to minutes.
  2. Long term memory which is stored for years, and even for a lifetime.

Dementia and Memory Loss

In simple words, dementia is a deterioration of cognitive abilities and mental functions, that impairs the normal daily activities. Along with memory, other mental faculties that are affected, include attention, judgement, comprehension, orientation, learning, calculation, problem solving, mood and behavior. Agitation or withdrawal, hallucinations, delusions, inability to fall asleep and loss of inhibitions, may also accompany this condition. Alzheimer's disease is the most common reason for a decline in memory, followed by vascular dementia (disease of blood vessels causing transient ischaemic attacks and stroke). Other common conditions responsible for memory loss include chronic alcoholism, deficiency of B-vitamins (B1 or thiamine, B12 or cyanocobalamin, and niacin or B3), hypothyroidism, some infections of the brain, such as tuberculosis, cryptococcosis, prion diseases, brain tumors, heavy metal poisoning such as lead intoxication, head injury and depression (resulting in pseudodementia or a false impression of memory loss).

The Concept of Green Exercise

The green exercise involves walking in a forest, in the mountains, by the sea, trekking through the woods, or jogging through a tree lined river path. Basically, it involves workout in natural surroundings and breathing fresh air. In this way, a person becomes more aware of his surroundings, the scent and color of flowers, and chirping sounds of birds. This refreshes the brain and improves attention span. It helps improve vitality, provides a sense of well-being and gives our overworked brains a much needed temporary break from the multitasking of everyday life.

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Effects of Green Exercise Include Relaxation and Mindfulness, That Help Improve Cognitive Functions

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Health Benefits of Green Exercise

Regular morning walks by the seashore, or some routine daily workout in a city park, or going for hiking, can help. Effects begin to show from a few hours to a few days after the activity, and consist of a special stage of relaxation and mindfulness, that helps improve cognitive functions. The common health benefits of green exercise include the following:

  1. Psychological and emotional wellbeing: A regular aerobics workout in the open air helps improve mental acuity, calculations, creativity and power of imagination.
  2. Antiaging: Age-related mental and physical decline and degenerative diseases are caused due to the physical inactivity that accompanies aging. Regular workouts in natural green surroundings can help stay active and independent, with increasing age.
  3. Stress reduction: Severe chronic mental stress can be associated with a gradual decline in normal brain functions, including memory. Prolonged mental strain lowers body immunity, increases blood pressure and clotting tendency of blood. Spending a few minutes daily in nature increases the production of endorphins, the natural pain relievers, calms down the tensed nerves, and provides relaxation. People who exercise regularly can handle routine life stress more efficiently.
  4. Reduces high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke risk: Regular aerobic exercises, such as brisk walking, jogging and biking, help lower LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein) or "bad" cholesterol and improve HDL (High Density Lipoprotein) or "good" cholesterol levels; increase our body's natural ability to use insulin; and improve blood sugar levels. Regular exercise reduces cholesterol deposits in the arteries and maintains their elasticity. This improves the blood flow to the brain and reduces the risk of vascular dementia.
  5. Lose Weight and increased muscle mass: Going for a pre-breakfast walk improves metabolism, and helps burn fat faster. Regular physical activity turns fat deposits into lean muscle mass, improves body shape and posture. This promotes an overall sense of well-being.
  6. Builds strong bones: Osteoporosis and bone pains are a common cause of physical inactivity, and consequent depression and anxiety. Regular exercise can increase bone density, reduce fracture risk, and help a person stay active, thus reducing the risk of cognitive decline, that accompanies severe chronic depression.

Tips For Open Air Exercise

  • Don't quit your gym workouts cold turkey. Start by replacing one treadmill run per week with an outdoor run, and shorten the distance and duration of exercise.
  • Pick a familiar route, so you don't get lost, and can stop if you get tired.
  • Make sure you are appropriately dressed for your climate. On hot and humid days, wear moisture absorbent material. On sunny days, wear sunscreen and sunglasses. When it is cool, dress in layers that you can take off, if you get drenched in sweat.
  • A comfortable pair of shoes is essential for outdoor workouts.

Outdoor Workouts Help Burn More Calories

Green exercise helps you lose weight, reduces stress and fights depression. Running outdoors can add years to your life, and decrease your risk for many diseases. You burn more calories outdoors than during a gym workout session. This is probably because when you are running on a treadmill, the conveyer belt does some of the work for you, but when you are running outside, your body has to propel itself forwards. There is also more air resistance when you are exercising in the open air.

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    • cmoneyspinner1tf profile image

      Treathyl FOX 13 months ago from Austin, Texas

      Excellent HUB. When my husband was studying psychology he took a course on memory. It's a fascinating topic.

    • travmaj profile image

      travmaj 3 years ago from australia

      Most interesting and well documented. I walk, with the dog, as often as possible and luckily I live in the most beautiful valley. Right now autumn colours are a delight. (although chilly winter is not far away!) Thank you for this information and concepts for our health.

    • mecheshier profile image

      mecheshier 3 years ago

      What a delightful Hub! Love the topic and inspirational ideas! Thanks!

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Walking is my love and I have almost year round beauty to enjoy so really hope that joy brings benefits! Great info.

    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 3 years ago from UK and Mexico

      I also love walking and wish our weather was more accommodating (UK).

      Interesting and useful article.

      Bob

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 3 years ago from Oklahoma

      Useful article.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 3 years ago from SW England

      Good information and good advice.

      I enjoy walking and do at least 20 minutes every day. We have a marina and a canal walk close by so that's very useful. I've always been an outdoor person; give me the countryside over the town any day.

      Excellent hub!

      Ann

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