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</P> All you joggers out there may want to plan a new route, for the sake of your emotional healt.

Rural Routes Maximize Psychological Benefits of Jogging

All you joggers out there may want to plan a new route, for the sake of your emotional health. In a recent study, researchers at Uppsala University in Sweden tested the psychological effects of the physical environment on joggers. Researchers were particularly interested in how rural and urban settings affected joggers' attention, anxiety, depression and anger levels. Participants were 12 adults-six men and six women-with a mean age of 39.7 years. Each participant ran two hour-long routes. One route featured green surroundings, including trees and water, and the other featured buildings and traffic. The results, published in the April 2003 issue of Psychology of Sport and Exercise, found that jogging in both settings significantly relieved anxiety, depression and anger. However, runners found rural, green scenery more emotionally restorative than urban routes. Effects on attention levels were inconsistent.

Family Ties to Fitness

We all know that exercising with a partner can greatly improve motivation. A recent study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise found who that partner is can also make a difference. Researchers studied mothers and daughters in a 12-week program divided into two groups. One group exercised three times a week at home; the other group exercised three times a week at a community centre with an instructor. Community-based participants attended 77 per cent of the sessions, while home-based participants attended 70 per cent of the recommended sessions. Overall, it appears that mothers and daughters can be strong encouragers to one another's health. In both groups, mothers increased their muscle strength and endurance, aerobic capacity, and flexibility. Daughters improved their muscle endurance. Mothers and daughters in both groups increased their general participation in all areas. Exercising at home together regularly is a fun, cost-effective way to get fit.

Moving Through the Pain

Most people with chronic pain want to rest, and who can blame them? However, exercise is one of the best things you can do for chronic pain, provided it's done properly. Dr. Nicholas A. DiNubile, in a report to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, said moderate activity improves the lives of those with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, low back pain and osteoporosis. Some of the best forms of exercise are swimming, walking and bicycling. Weight-bearing activity is also beneficial. However, anyone with chronic pain or joint problems should avoid activities that are stressful to joints and the back, such as running, jogging and skiing. The best place to start is at your doctor's or chiropractor's office. These professionals can help make decisions about the amount and type of activity that is right for you.

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (aaos.org)

Why Move?

It's all because of the cartilage, the material between joints that lets us bend and twist. Cartilage needs joint movement for absorbing nutrients and removing waste-exercise means healthy joints and less pain! Your movement doesn't have to be complex, and shouldn't be strenuous. Try simply rotating your wrists or ankles, or try the "towel grabber" exercise: place a towel flat on the floor. With one foot on it, use your toes to grab at sections of the towel, gradually bringing it all in toward you. For more exercises for those with chronic pain, visit the Arthritis Society of Canada's Web site at arthritis.ca.

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