Benefits of Outdoor Exercise

By Kristi Harries

After a long winter of working out indoors, many people enjoy switching up their routines and taking their sweat sessions outside. The change of scenery alone is enough for most, but there are a few added health benefits to encourage more outside workouts this summer!

Mental and Emotional Well-being: A randomized study found that natural environment exercise was linked to increased energy, greater feelings of revitalization and greater satisfaction. Participants also reported they were more likely to exercise again compared to their indoor counterparts.

Outdoor exercise has also been associated with decreasing tension, confusion, anger and depression. A few small studies have found that people who exercise outside have lower blood levels of cortisol, the hormone related to stress.

Improved Attention and Focus: Although any exercise is likely to help with clearing the mind, a small study from the University of Illinois found that ADHD children were better able to concentrate after a 20-minute walk in the park than those who walked through the city or neighborhood streets. This shows that our physical environment can make a difference.

Higher Vitamin D levels: Taking your workout outside is a great way to soak up a few extra sun rays and get that needed vitamin D. Although you want to be safe and wear sunscreen, if you are planning to be in the sun for a long period of time, being outside may be especially helpful for people with low levels of vitamin D.

Burn more Calories: Outdoor exercise tends to be more strenuous than the indoor version. Comparing the exertion of running on a treadmill and the exertion of running outside, treadmill runners expended less energy to cover the same distance as those striding outside; primarily because indoor exercises do not face wind resistance or changes in the terrain. The same dynamic can apply to cycling. That means that if you have limited time and want to burn as many calories as possible, you should hit the road instead of the gym!

Another small study on older adults (men and women aged 66 or older) found that volunteers reported enjoying the outside activity more and found that those who exercised outside exercised longer and more often than those who exercised indoors.

To help get you started, follow this link to see some fun outside exercises! body/best-outdoor- workout/?page=1


Healthy Living (2012) Outdoor Exercise: Health Benefits of Working out Outside. Huffington Post. health-benefits_n_1616467.html

Reynolds, Gretchen (2013) The Benefits of Exercising Outdoors. The New York Times. of-exercising- outdoors/?_r=0

A Health Blog (2017) More Mental and Physical Benefits from Outdoor Exercise. mental-and- physical-benefits- from-outdoor-exercise.html

About the Author:

Kristi has been with BaySport coming up on 7 years managing the Micro Focus location in Provo, Utah. She graduated from Brigham Young University-Idaho with a degree in Health Promotion and Lifetime Wellness, and is a Licensed Massage Therapist. She enjoys working with clients to improve their lifestyle and coach them towards a long healthy life! She loves living close to the mountains to hike and fish with her husband and now 10 month old daughter. She is running the Utah Valley and Mt. Nebo Half marathons this summer and enjoys training outside after a long snowy winter!

Satiating Your Hunger and Quenching Thirst

By John Paul de Guzman

Have you ever felt hungry or thirsty during or after a workout? It is not uncommon to confuse the two sensations when it comes to your appetite and wonder, “Should I eat or drink, and when?” In this article, we will identify the body’s different signals and how to mindfully respond to them to manage hunger and thirst.

Hunger is the body’s signal indicating its need for food and energy. There are three types of hunger that reflect your body’s need for food in everyday life: physical, emotional, and situational hunger. First,  symptoms of physical hunger include stomach growling, weakness, headaches, loss of concentration, and mood swings. Be mindful of these physical signals and respond to them regularly because if they are ignored, then the body will release hormones that increase the sensation of hunger, decreasing the hormone that enhances satiety (Brown, 2017). Second, emotional hunger is the desire to eat to cope with feelings (i.e., sad, lonely, anxious, or bored). Unmanaged emotional hunger can lead to eating disorders and/or worsened emotional health, which in extreme cases professional support from a mental health counselor or dietitian is suggested.

The best way to manage hunger is to recognize these signals to distinguish between physical versus emotional hunger. Then, use The Hunger Scale to measure your hunger level before, during, and after eating to monitor your food intake:

1-Extremely hungry
2-Very hungry
3-Mildly hungry
4-Satisfied (not hungry nor full)
5-Midely full
6-Very full
7-Extremely full

Third, situational hunger is influenced by your surroundings. For example, extra-large restaurant servings, food ads, and your home and workplace influence your food intake. Furthermore, when individuals are eating and distracted by watching television, on a phone call, or browsing the web, their attention is drawn away from the food being eaten, which can lead to over-consumption (Crome, 2017). In response to these habits, the Food and Brand Lab recommends the “C.A.N.” approach, which encourages making healthy foods Convenient, Attractive, and Normal (Brown, 2017). For instance, consider decluttering your kitchen, pre-washing and slicing produce, preparing healthy meals in batches on the weekends for your workweek ahead, or replacing unhealthy snacks with better on-the-go options. As you can see, there are different types of hunger, but if you listen and respond to these signals mindfully, your relationship with food will be more positive.

Meal timing is key to workout performance and recovery. It is normal to feel hungry after a workout because exercise burns calories. Whether or not you eat before your workout can impact your hunger later in the day. In fact, exercising in a fasted state will lead to early fatigue, poor stamina, and increased hunger later (Bachus and Macdonald, 2015). Sheri Berger, BaySport Registered Dietitian, recommends that for quick energy, pre-workout meals should consist mostly of carbohydrates and consumed 1-2 hours prior to strength training (e.g., a smoothie or Greek yogurt with fruits, nuts, and honey) or having a small snack (e.g., granola bar, fresh fruit, or a bagel with peanut butter) about 30-60 minutes before cardio or circuit training. Following cardio or circuit training, eat a small snack within 30 minutes after your workout and a meal, composed of a ratio of 3:1 or 4:1 carbs and protein (e.g., pasta with a salad and a glass of milk), within 2 hours of finishing. Similarly, post-workout meals following weight training should be consumed within 2 hours and composed of a carb to protein ratio of 2:1 or 1:1 (e.g. grilled chicken with rice and broccoli). Whenever possible, choose whole foods.

At the same time, if you feel hungry, you might actually be thirsty. Thirst is the body’s signal that it is on the way to dehydration. The American Council on Exercise emphasizes that most people do not drink enough water before, during, and after exercise, but it is recommended to drink whether you are thirsty or not. Consider the various factors that influence intake throughout your day: sweat rate, water lost through excretion, food and beverage consumption, metabolic water loss and any water lost through respiration. Given that, the brain sometimes confuses a lack of fluid with not enough food, signaling physical hunger symptoms. In addition, be aware of concentrated and decreased urine (urine should be a pale yellow), weight loss, increased heart rate and low blood pressure, dry mouth and eyes, and constipation. Because water composes more than half of the human body, it is impossible to sustain life for more than a week without it and must be consumed to replace the amount lost each day during basic activities.

Water is the best form of hydration for most individuals, and it is recommended to drink eight 8 ounce cups of water a day. Before exercise, drink 2-3 cups of fluid 2 to 3 hours before workout and 1 cup of fluid 10 to 20 minutes right before activity. During exercise, drink 1 cup of fluid every 15 minutes, and after exercise, drink at least 2 cups. Sports drinks are not needed unless the activity exceeds 45-60 minutes to replenish salt lost during sweat. If sports drinks are unavailable drink water and having a salty snack (i.e. pretzels). Moreover, daily water intake does not always need to be met through the consumption of plain water (Nitschke, 2017). Foods and beverages possessing hydrating properties that work to our benefit include: fruits fresh, frozen or canned in natural juice, leafy greens, dairy, coffee/tea, tomatoes, and oatmeal.

In conclusion, listen to your body’s hunger signals and respond to them accordingly. Time your meals and check the hunger scale to monitor food intake, choosing whole foods whenever possible. Remember to drink throughout the day to quench your thirst and that there are alternative sources from which you can fulfill your daily water intake from. Taking steps to manage your thirst and hunger will promote a more positive relationship with food and a satiated appetite.


Bachus, T., R.D.N., & Macdonald, E., R.D.N. (2015, July 20). Why Am I Always Hungry After a Workout? Retrieved March 16, 2017, from

Brown, K. (2017, March 10). All About Hunger. Retrieved March 16, 2017, from

Crome, G. (2017, March 7). Mindful Eating. Retrieved March 16, 2017, from

Healthy Hydration. (n.d.). Retrieved March 23, 2017, from

Nitschke, E. (2016, December 28). Eat Your Water – Sources of Hydrating Foods. Retrieved March 16, 2017, from

Author’s Bio

John Paul (JP) is a American Council on Exercise Certified Personal Trainer. He is a Bay Area native and long-time San Francisco Giants and 49ers fan. He spent most of the winter shredding the slopes on his snowboard, but is ready to hit the ground running again to train for his 7th full marathon.

Reduce Your Risk of Cancer: 5 must-have foods

By Sheri Berger

March is Colorectal Cancer prevention month. A combination of a healthy diet, regular physical activity and healthy body weight can lower your risk of cancer. Consuming a plant rich diet with a focus on variety is a great way to reduce cancer risk. No single food or nutrient will prevent cancer alone; it is the synergy of nutrients working together in the overall diet that provide cancer protection.

Here are five plant foods that are excellent to include:

1. Cruciferous vegetables are nutrition powerhouses that resemble a cross or “crucifer,” hence the name. Some of the most common varieties are Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, turnips, kale, collard greens, and broccoli. This magnificent vegetable group supplies folate, magnesium, fiber, potassium, vitamins C & K, and beta-carotene in the diet. There is strong evidence that cruciferous vegetables lower risk of colorectal cancer.

Tip: Cruciferous vegetables are versatile and easy to incorporate. Add leafy greens to smoothies, soups, sandwiches, wraps, or make them the sandwich wrap!

2. Grapes are an excellent source of the cancer fighting, inflammation reducing, and longevity associated compound resveratrol. In studies, resveratrol has been shown to block the development of skin, breast and leukemia cancer. The skins of grapes contain the highest levels of reveratrol, which may be associated with some of the health benefits of drinking red wine. For cancer prevention, it is recommended to only drink alcohol in moderation.

Tip: Enjoy grapes as part of a snack or add them to a leafy green salad to add a variety of texture and bit of sweetness!

3. Quinoa is a wonderful whole grain that is rich in fiber, protein, and antioxidants. A variety of healthful compounds in whole grains give this food group high potential for anti-cancer promotion. A cup of quinoa contains about 222 calories, 5 grams of fiber, and 8 grams of protein. Quinoa is not low calorie, but it is very nutrient dense and filling. Consuming a variety of fiber rich whole grains foods is important for cancer prevention, especially colorectal cancer.

Tip: Add a variety of vegetables to quinoa to boost the quantity without significantly increasing calories.

4. Flaxseed is an excellent source of lignins, fiber, ALA (plant form of omega-3), and vitamin E. A suggested serving size is 4 tablespoons of ground flaxseed which contains 150 calories and about 7 grams of fiber. The high fiber content gives flaxseed potential for helping to prevent colorectal cancer. Further research is needed, but flaxseed may also help to prevent breast cancer because of the lignan content.

Tip: To get the full nutritional benefits, consume your flaxseeds ground. Sprinkle them in smoothies, oatmeal, yogurt, salads, or muffin, bread, or pancake batter.

5. Beans are a member of the legume family, which also includes split peas and lentils. Legumes are excellent sources of folate and fiber, providing 20% of the recommended daily amount per serving. Fiber helps to control weight and it protects colon cells, helping to decrease cancer risk. Folate and phytochemical rich components of beans also show promise for anti-cancer effects.

Tip: Canned beans are convenient and nutritionally equivalent to dried, rinse with water to remove most sodium.


American Institute for Cancer Research fight-cancer/

Renee, J (2/18/14) Livestrong, Foods That Fight Colon Cancer. Retrieved from that-fight- colon-cancer/

Thomas, M (1/27/11) Livestrong, Quinoa Rice Nutrition. Retrieved from rice-nutrition/

About the Author:
Sheri Berger is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist having completed her B.S. in Food/Nutrition & Dietetics and a dietetic internship at Loyola University Chicago. Sheri has a diverse professional background that includes hospital and outpatient clinic patient support, preventive wellness programs, corporate wellness services, cardiovascular disease management, and working with seniors. Sheri enjoys engaging her clients in pursuit of their personal wellness goals and leading by example with her healthy lifestyle. She has been certified in adult weight management since 2005. She belongs to the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, California Dietetic Association, and the San Jose Peninsula District of the CDA. Sheri enjoys spending her free time with her family and she loves to run marathons.