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Science Explains How Camping For A Week Can Largely Change Your Productivity

Science Explains How Camping For A Week Can Largely Change Your Productivity

Camping – More Than Just A Vacation Option!

Millions of us make camping trips each year, usually as a way of escaping the stresses of daily life and having fun with family and friends. However, camping isn’t just a fabulous way to spend your vacation time. Research has demonstrated that switching your routine and aligning yourself more closely with nature can help you get into the habit of keeping regular, healthier sleeping hours and boost your productivity as a result.

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How Camping Helps Improve Your Sleep Pattern

Have you ever noticed that when you camp, you feel more inclined to rise early in the mornings? Camping allows us to get back in touch with the world around us, reset our body clocks and help us face each new day with renewed energy and purpose. Many of us have an unnatural sleep pattern because we expose our bodies to lots of artificial light. As a result, instead of waking up with the sunrise and feeling sleepy as the sun sets, we manipulate our bodies into an artificial sleep schedule that can leave us feeling tired and lethargic in the mornings.

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Research published by Kenneth Wright and colleagues in the journal ‘Current Biology’ found that abstaining from artificial light sources for a week helps even those who consider themselves to be ‘night owls’ to get up early in the morning as the sun rises. Volunteers took a camping trip and gave up all exposure to manmade light sources, including torches. This forced them to sleep in accordance with nature’s rhythms, and within days they had begun to wake naturally at sunrise. Just imagine what you could get done and how much more efficient you could become at work if you started to awaken naturally in the early morning!

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Rise Early, Be Productive

This research has exciting implications, because studies have shown that rising early in the morning is associated with greater productivity. Jens Bonke from the Rockwool Foundation Research Unit published a paper in the Annals of Economics and Statistics demonstrating that those who find it easier to get up early in the morning or to describe themselves as ‘morning people’ tend to earn more money than those who prefer to get up later. He suggests that because western society is set up to favour, encourage and reward those who work eagerly from the start of the working day rather than wait until the afternoon or evening to pick up momentum, ‘morning people’ enjoy greater overall success, greater productivity and ultimately earn more compared with those who prefer to go to bed late and start their most intense work mid-morning or later.

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Additional Benefits

If you suffer with insomnia, a camping trip free from all artificial light sources could be just what you need in order to get into a healthier sleep-wake cycle. Research by Susan Bolge and colleagues published in the journal ‘Quality of Life Research’ demonstrates that a lack of high-quality sleep significantly impairs not only life satisfaction in general, but on work productivity. Therefore, if you find it difficult to get enough sleep and feel as though your job performance is suffering as a result, try cutting down on artificial light and spend a few days in nature!

The next time you feel the need to take a trip away, consider packing a tent rather than picking out a hotel. Not only is it generally a cheaper option, but you could enjoy the benefits of your vacation long after you return. If you can’t find the time to take a whole week off, a couple of days or a long weekend is still better than nothing and offers you other benefits too such as fresh and the opportunity to relax in a natural setting.

Featured photo credit: Noel Bauza via pixabay.com

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Jay Hill

Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on May 22, 2019

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

1. Cat Camel Stretch

Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

Here’s a video to guide you through:

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2. Go for a Walk or a Run

This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

3. Jumping Jacks

Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

4. Abductor Side Lifts

Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

5. Balancing Table Pose

This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

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    6. Leg Squats

    Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

    Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

    The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

    7. Push Ups

    You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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    An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

    Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

    This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

    8. Bicycle Crunches

    There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

    Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

    9. Lunges

    Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

    Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

    This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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    10. Bicep Curls

    You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

    Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

    Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

    Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

    Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

    These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

    You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

    Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

    More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

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