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Thursday, May 27, 2010

More for the mind, the body...and the soul.


While many gyms offer machines that only work your body as isolated parts and same old same old classes taught by trainers who don't really know what they're doing, we at Jungle Miami, are part of the new approach to exercise, which is called Integrated Training. Integrated Training is a concept that incorporates all forms of training in an integrated fashion as part of a progressive system (1). In other words we treat the human body as a whole. This is the reason why in our Jungle Miami blog we share ideas and articles that reaffirm our approach to exercising, integrating mind, body and soul and treating it as one integrated machine.

In our Jungle Miami post of today we are reprinting a piece we think it may shed some light into the importance of the environment in which we workout and its influence on us as human beings.

References
(1) National Academy of Sports Medicine.


"Mind and Body: Exercise Environment Matters"

We get different exercise benefits based on our environment.,
Published on November 16, 2009
Thomas Plante, PhD., ABPP is Professor of Psychology and Director of the Spirituality and Health Institute at Santa Clara University.


We all know that doing the right thing for our bodies include regular exercise. What we might not realize is that exercise environment really does matter. We get different benefits from exercise depending upon what is happening around us. So, depending on your exercise goals, you might want to be mindful of where and how you exercise and who you exercise with.

In my laboratory at Santa Clara University, my students and I have conducted a number of studies where we manipulate the exercise environment of our research participants while keeping the intensity and duration of their exercise exposure constant. For example, all participants exercise for 20 minutes at a moderate level (about 60% of their maximum heart rate which we monitor closely). In some experimental conditions they exercise indoors and in some conditions they exercise outdoors.

In some conditions they exercise with a friend while in other conditions they exercise with a stranger or by themselves. In other conditions they exercise with an iPod. Some conditions they experience virtual computer generated exercise (through a virtual reality headset and computer program) and in some conditions they do not. Over the years, we have conducted and published a number of studies on this topic in scientific professional journals. What can we learn from them?

In general, we have learned that if your goal with exercise is to relax (perhaps after a stressful day) you are more likely to achieve the most relaxation if you exercise alone and indoors (rather than with a friend or outdoors). If you exercise goal is to be energized by your workout (perhaps to wake you up in the morning) then you are likely to accomplish this goal by exercising outdoors and with a friend. In terms of enjoyment, people generally enjoy their exercise when conducted outdoors and also with music (such as using an iPod). The peppier the music, by the way, the better.

If your goal is to work out harder, then exercising with another person who you experience as being high fit will likely do the trick. Exercising with someone you perceive as being low in fitness will likely result in a poorer workout in that you will likely not work out as vigorously.

Finally, your beliefs about your fitness matter as well. If you believe that you are fit, you'll enjoy much more of the psychological benefits of exercise (including improved stress management) than if you don't believe you are fit.

In a nutshell, we all know that we should get regular exercise and that it is the right thing to do for our body, mind, and soul. But research suggests that we should be mindful of the exercise environment that we are in (i.e., outdoors, indoors, with music or without, with friends, strangers, or alone, with those who are high or low in fitness) and that our beliefs about our fitness really do matter.

So, go out there and exercise but be thoughtful of the environment that you exercise in to get the results you desire.

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