Here in Nashville, we don’t get a lot of snow. A slight flurry has been known to freak out many Nashvillians, and just a few inches of snowfall can shut down the city for days. While we all love a good excuse to stay home, curl up by the fire, and enjoy a relaxing day, there are a lot of benefits to taking some time on your snow day to get outside and do some good old-fashioned playing. To help get you motivated to put down the hot cocoa and step outside for a minute, here are three of the best reasons to be active in the snow this winter:
By the summer of 2013 I had completed three half marathons in just over a year… and I swore I was giving up running in favor of the bike forever. Then, I was approached by Soles4Souls and RAGNAR Relay Tennessee about a possible partnership, and the idea of running again sparked a new fire inside me.
Let me get one thing straight: If I have to choose between running shoes or a bike, I’ll take the bike every time. I do not love running; I also don’t hate it. I’m slow (about a 11 min/mile pace), and I’ve done enough of it to offer up some sound advice for others who like the idea of running but need extra motivation to do it.
RANGAR Relay Tennessee is currently my motivation.
As we noted in last week’s blog, making New Year’s resolutions can be both an empowering and daunting experience. We’ve all got a lot of goals for 2015, whether it’s to improve our fitness, focus on our health, or to be a little greener or more adventurous. Here at Team Green, we want to give you as many resources as possible to help make these goals a reality all year! For that reason, we’re ramping up our regular, monthly workshop offerings to start 2015. Here’s a little sneak peek at what workshops we’ve got coming up and how they can help you achieve your goals all year long:
Want to be a little greener in 2015? We’ve got you covered! Our Engage Green workshop series, in partnership with Urban Green Lab, is designed to give you monthly opportunities to get down and dirty with all things sustainability-related. These workshops are often hands on and will expose you to a range of topics, from gardening to green building, hopefully sending you home with some tips to make your own life a little more sustainable. Topics and locations change monthly, so be sure to check our calendar regularly to stay up to date on what we’re offering. Upcoming topics include a behind-the-scenes look at Metro Water Services’ treatment facility in February and a rain barrel workshop with the Cumberland River Compact in March.
(First Wednesday of each month at 6pm)
Looking to work off that extra holiday weight and stay in shape all year? Try our fitness workshop series, in partnership with Metro Parks’ Centennial Sportsplex! You’re guaranteed to work up a good sweat during these classes, where a certified fitness instructor will guide us through an hour-long bootcamp-style workout routine. Each month features a different bootcamp theme, but each workout will be similar in that they all involve a series of fast-paced, high-intensity intervals that work different muscle groups and get your heart rate up. Like our sustainability series, you’ll walk away from these classes with tangible workout ideas that you can do at home or on your own, helping you get fit when it’s most convenient for you! Upcoming classes include a full-body “jungle gym” workout in February and a “booty camp” hamstring- and glute-focused workout in March.
(Second Sunday of each month at 3pm)
Health and Wellness
Our wellness workshop series, in partnership with the American Cancer Society, is designed to answer any and all questions you might have on a range of health topics. We’ll bring in wellness experts from around Nashville, connecting you with the professionals who know how to best help you get healthy and tackle any issues you might be having. Our first workshop in this series is coming up later this month, where we’ll learn about the benefits of massage therapy (be ready for hands-on demos!). Other upcoming topics include Understanding Cancer in February and Indoor Air Quality in April.
(Fourth Thursday of each month at 6pm)
In addition to the series mentioned above, we’re also working on putting together a food and nutrition workshop series with the Nashville Farmers’ Market, as well as occasional outdoor gear workshops with Cumberland Transit. Keep your eyes on our calendar in the coming weeks and months as we continue to post more workshops and topics! Have topic suggestions of your own? Feel free to leave a comment below to let us know the kinds of things you want to see us cover! We love extra input, and are here to help you achieve YOUR goals.
See you there!
– Matt (Team Green’s Events Coordinator)
It’s no secret that being active will help you feel better, both physically and emotionally. Countless studies have been done on the merits of maintaining an active lifestyle, with benefits including weight loss and control, improved mood, and increased daily energy levels, among other things. While these perks are widely known and clearly true, we may be selling ourselves short if our routine physical activity is limited to time spent lifting weights at the gym, running on a treadmill or even practicing yoga at a local studio.
Friends of Warner Parks here in Nashville has a great section in their monthly newsletter that highlights what they call their “Green Hour Tip.” Each month, they pick a new tip to help you incorporate an hour of outdoors time into your daily schedule. Their suggestions range from planning your summer vacation around outdoor activity to washing your car by hand in the driveway. Their message is always the same – no matter what you’re doing, make it a point to spend a little extra time outdoors on a regular basis.
I’ve always enjoyed casually reading these segments, but their most recent Green Hour Tip caught my attention more than ones had in months past. In September’s newsletter, they take note of a trend occurring at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Here, doctors are beginning to prescribe outdoor activity as a treatment to improve the health outcomes of their patients, focusing specifically on younger children who have grown up spending more time looking at computer, tablet and cell phone screens than playing outdoors. Through their “Outdoors Rx” program, in partnership with the Appalachian Mountain Club, the hospital has trained more than 75 pediatricians to incorporate outdoor activity into their treatment repertoires. This program, doctors say, not only encourages kids to get off the couch and get active period, bringing with it all of the traditional benefits of regular exercise. Additionally, outdoor activity also promotes a “sense of wonder” in today’s youth, exposing them to the workings of the natural world in ways that textbooks and videos in science class can’t quite capture.
While such programs are vital to promoting health and wellness, the benefits of outdoor activity aren’t just available to children, but to people of all ages! As a great New York Times article from February of 2013 points out, studies have shown that adults who exercise outdoors by running or cycling have more strenuous and effective workouts than those who do the same workout routines indoors. These individuals work more muscle groups, and work them harder, than their running and cycling counterparts who exercised on treadmills or stationary bikes in the comfort of their home or local gym.
The differences don’t stop there, however, as subsequent studies have demonstrated that those who walk outdoors score “significantly higher on measures of vitality, enthusiasm, pleasure and self-esteem and lower on tension, depression and fatigue” than those who walk indoors. To further drive home the point, an additional study found that those who exercised outdoors spent, on average, 30 minutes more per week being active than those who performed similar exercise routines indoors. Case in point: if you take your physical activity outside, you’ll not only enjoy it more, but you’ll get better results and you’ll be more likely to want to go back and do it again!
Overall, the message is clear: we not only need to get active, but we need to do at least some of it outdoors in nature. Whether your workout of choice is walking, rowing, running, cycling, climbing, yoga or anything else, find a way to take it outside! Nothing beats the feeling of the sun on your face, a cooling breeze through your hair, or the refreshing smell of the great outdoors, so take advantage of it and make a Green Hour a part of your everyday routine!
Convinced and want to put your new-found knowledge to use? Join us on our day hike along the Fiery Gizzard trail coming up next Saturday, October 18th! The 9-mile loop through some of Tennessee’s most beautiful terrain will provide you with plenty of great active time outdoors!
– Matt (Team Green’s Event Coordinator)
Usually climbing is thrown out of the mix when choosing a cardio sport to burn calories. Surprisingly, climbing is a low-impact aerobic workout that burns mega-calories. Climbing is also forgotten when people are searching for a relaxing form of physical activity. Climbing is a sport of concentration, forcing you to focus and relieve tension. Too often climbing is overlooked as “too hard,” or “too much work.” Climbing is a sport everyone can participate in, and there are several surprising benefits that come from building a practice of regular climbing. Team Green Adventures is gathering for Beginner Indoor Climbing at Climb Nashville’s West Gym every Tuesday at 6 p.m. starting next week! Here are six reasons why you won’t want to miss this:
1. Full Body Strength
Climbing requires all of your muscles to be engaged, while especially building your upper body and triggering your core muscles to constantly work. This sculpting workout will not only result in defined muscles, but also strengthens your endurance muscles, boosting your performance in other physical activities and sports. Climbing will build the primary muscles needed for physical activity, while strengthening secondary muscles for a sport that could not be built from simply practicing that sport.
2. Decision-Making Skills
Each climbing route is like a puzzle that trains your mind. Every climbing session involves quick decision-making, goal setting, and problem solving. When you are hanging on the wall hesitating, you learn to make spot decisions as you go and follow through. You will begin to visualize your routes before the climb, instead of choosing random rocks in the middle of your climb.
3. Self Confidence
Each color grip signifies a different route grade level. Once you have completed a level, it is natural to be determined to meet the next level and continue improving your skills. As you set fitness goals in climbing, you will become more confident in your ability to set goals and achieve them. This will help you fearlessly set personal and career goals outside the gym or away from the rock wall.
4. Stress Relief
Climbing would not be possible without complete concentration from both your body and your mind. Doing this allows the world to drift away, leaving you with your body, mind and gravity. After a rigorous climb, your endorphins will peak gifting you with a clear head.
Climbing is always a team sport. Whether you are bouldering or climbing with a rope, you have a guide. Climbing will build your trust in others as you let another person guide you when you cannot see clearly. Allowing another person to control your rope is putting your safety in their hands.
As a climber, you will spend just as much time helping others climb. You will teach others how to belay, which involves a very specific system of steps. Guiding a climber on the wall requires excellent communication skills to ensure the climber’s safety. Practicing as a belayer means you will improve your memory of specific climbing vernacular, speaking in the correct order, talking clearly, and listening attentively.
Climbing is a one-of-a-kind sport that delivers a more wide-ranging set of benefits than many other physical activities. Join Team Green every Tuesday at 6 p.m. to see if climbing is the sport you didn’t know you were looking for!
– Kate (Team Green’s Summer Intern)
Anytime you sweat, your body is giving you a gentle reminder that it is time to drink some water. Team Greeners are an active and outdoorsy bunch, making it even more important for us to prioritize hydration. When we hike, bike, or paddle on the lake for extended periods of time, we must bring water along to rehydrate. When you’re having fun it can be easy to forget to take care of your physical needs, but as heat and humidity rise it becomes more vital to hydrate and replenish with water. If you skimp on water, then fatigue, headaches and dehydration are just a few of the downsides that you are likely to experience. It is a general rule that men should consume about 3 liters of water a day, while women should drink 2 liters of water daily.
Amber Robertson, a Nashville-based certified holistic health coach, gave several reasons why someone may need to drink more than the suggested daily dose:
Consume more water if you:
- Live in a hot climate
- Are in a high altitude above 8,000 ft.
- Exercise frequently
- Experience sickness with vomiting or diarrhea
- Have a bladder infection or UTI
- Are pregnant or breast feeding
- Frequently drink alcohol
When we’re told to drink a specific amount of water, why is it so difficult to reach that number? Water can be fairly boring, making it easier to grab a tea or coffee, or even worse, a sugary energy drink or soda. Amber offers three of her favorite easy-to-make fruit-infused waters. These cooling drinks will make drinking water more fun, and you won’t have to think twice about consuming more of this important beverage. Try one of Amber’s refreshing recipes: Sliced Cucumber & Mint Sprig, Sliced Mandarin Orange & Blueberries, or Strawberry, Lemon & Fresh Basil Leaves.
Another tip to keep in mind is that there are easy ways to consume more water without actually drinking water. Summer produce, such as cantaloupe, peppers, watermelon, zucchini, cherries and peaches are fruits and vegetables with high water content. Amber’s Sweet Peaches and Ricotta Toast is one recipe that will help you consume even more H20.
Drinking water is not only important to prevent the negative effects of dehydration, but adding a little more water to your diet can also increase your energy, promote weight loss, flush out harmful toxins, improves skin complexion, and prevent cramps and sprains!
We understand how important it is to keep our bodies in proper shape in order to stay active and energized. Every Tuesday evening at 6 p.m. Team Green meets at Centennial Park for sand volleyball. Our event sponsor is Real Water, an alkalized water infused with negative ions, which is proven to increase cellular hydration more so than acidic, positively-ionized purified waters. Join Team Green for sand volleyball to try this refreshing water without interrupting your active lifestyle!
– Kate (Team Green’s Summer Intern)
Camping is the ultimate retreat for outdoor-lovers. Submerge yourself in a weekend of nature before the summer winds down. Camp with family or join Team Green Adventures and meet people who love the outdoors as much as you! On Saturday, August 9, Team Green is heading to Hiwassee River for a weekend of kayaking and camping. For more information, check out our event page.
Even if that trip isn’t your cup of tea, check out our ten best reasons for getting outdoors and camping this summer:
1. Escape the City
A camping trip means you will do almost nothing for a weekend. You won’t have to get ready in the morning, run errands, or clean. Turn off your phone and laptop and just relax. You won’t be relaxing for 30 minutes; you will be relaxing for multiple days. Discover that you don’t need a whole lot to make you happy.
2. Appreciate Nature
When was the last time you laid in the grass to look at a sky full of stars? You will be surprised how much more sky you can see outside of the city. The day’s activities will revolve around nature. The real thing is always better than a picture, so truly soak in your surroundings. Camping lets you take a break from artificial lighting. As it grows darker, you won’t have bright light from your laptop or phone glaring in your eyes.
3. Family Time
Laugh together as your family works together to overcome the struggles of setting up a tent and cooking food over the campfire. Sleeping in the tent and tasting the food will be that much more rewarding if teamwork was required! Camping is a bonding experience where you spend the whole day together without the distractions of electronics or work.
4. Learn Survival Skills
Camping offers the chance to teach your kids how to start a fire and set up a campsite. While weekend camping may be more leisurely, there are still many survival skills that can be practiced. Teach your kids the well-known phrase, “leave your camp cleaner than you came,” and show them why recycling is important in a more hands-on way.
5. It’s Budget-Friendly
Camping is basically a vacation that doesn’t cost money. The small expense that is required is much less than having to pay for gas, taxis, airfare, and going out to eat a bunch. These expenses can add up shockingly fast, but staying at a campsite for two nights could cost as little as $24 total. This will help the trip be even more relaxing!
6. That Campfire Smell
The smell of a campfire in the woods beats most others. When you smell the campfire you can anticipate hot dogs, grilled cheese wrapped in foil, acoustic guitar playing, and unforgettable conversations with close friends and family. The smell of bacon cooking over campfire is reason enough to go camping…
7. Best Breakfast Ever
Speaking of bacon, there is truly nothing better than a breakfast cooked over a fire in the woods. Think skillet scrambled eggs with chopped veggies and breakfast potatoes. And don’t forget the French press! All of the camping food you eat will have a light, smoky flavor, providing you with a constant reminder of the joys of the great outdoors.
8. Sunrise and Sunset
Often times during the sunrise and sunset people are indoors or asleep. City life makes it easy to miss these beautiful scenes. When camping, your clock is the sun. You will wake up to a beautiful sunrise and stay up past sunset.
9. Be Inspired
When you return home you may find yourself using your phone less, spending more time outdoors, or sitting down for dinner with your family every evening. Let your camping trip inspire you to carry some of those practices into your daily life.
10. It’s Good for Your Health
Trees release phytoncides, which reduce stress, lower blood pressure, ease digestion, and boost the immune system. These healthy benefits can last up to 30 days. The woods also provide more oxygen and have many fewer pollutants, helping you breathe more easily outdoors. Vitamin D from the sun allows your body to absorb calcium and phosphorous. The most obvious health benefit of camping is the exercise. You will be moving all day, but since you’ll also be having a good time, the work won’t feel like exercise. After a day full of activities in the sun, you will sleep more deeply, especially with the sound of your natural surroundings soothing you as you rest.
Don’t take our word for it – get out and experience the outdoors for yourself! We’ve got plenty of great adventures coming up to help get you outside and active before summer’s over:
– Kate (Team Green’s Summer Intern)