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On the Outside Health and Fitness Podcast we explore new and fun ways to get fit on the trail, on the water, on the slopes and outside. Discover the latest in health and fitness from leading experts and get tips on fun ways to get fit. We're getting outside the box, outside our comfort zone and outside and in shape.

Apr 4, 2016

The Final Episode

In this episode of the Outside Health and Fitness podcast we talk about how getting outside can benefit your weight-loss goals.

On Today’s show you’ll discover…

  • …how different elements in nature support a healthy weight;
  • …fun activities that can be done outside;
  • …and I say goodbye and talk about my decision to take Outside Health and Fitness off the air.

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Weight Loss in America

In a recent Gallup poll, 49 percent of Americans said they would like to lose weight which is the first time in at least 25 years that less than half of Americans said they wanted to lose weight. Sounds great doesn’t it? Well, unfortunately there’s a bit more to the story you see obesity rates in America are still on the rise which may explain why fewer people would like to lose weight.

“If you look like your friends, then you think you’re at a normal weight,” You may be normal by american standards but not by medical standards.”

On top of that more people are spending time indoors and not getting the full health benefits available outside. While 80 percent of a healthy weight happens in the kitchen there are distinct advantages to spending more time outdoors….advantages that could help you lose weight.

So how could something as simple as spending more time outdoors help you be healthy and lose weight?  I want to share four different factors that come into play when you spend time outside…factors that have a direct connection to weight loss.

Outdoor Elements and Weight Loss


#1 Spend Time in Nature

The first is that spending time in nature can help you reduce stress and anxiety and we know there’s a connection between stress and weight gain. In fact, there is a term for this- Ecotherapy – it refers to the various physical and psychological benefits of being outside.  

A 2009 study  found that the closer someone lived to a green space or nature area, the healthier that person was likely to be. Another study found that those who spent time hiking or resting in a forest had measurably lower cortisol rates, heart rates and blood pressure.

Along with the physical benefits of reducing stress you’ll also feel more in control of your life, and may find it easier to stick to healthy eating and exercise habits.

#2 Fresh Air

Another way that being outdoors can help you achieve your weight loss goals has to do with the air you breathe. When you spend time breathing fresh air outside your metabolism responds positively…why? Because you’re getting more oxygen and when you add an activity like walking, hiking or biking you need that oxygen to provide energy and burn calories.

Yeah, but I could just walk inside right? Well, the difference between exercising indoors and outdoors is that indoors there is less oxygen in the air. Your body uses oxygen to burn calories which in turn provides the energy you need for exercise. You burn more calories and have more energy when you move your exercise outside.

#3 Earthing

Earthing, which is also known as grounding (or vitamin G),  is about reconnecting with the earth and getting back to the skin to skin contact our ancestors had on a regular basis. In episode 138 I talked about earthing, what it is and how you benefit. Now you might be saying to yourself…yeah but I walk on the ground all the time. True but In our modern world we’ve become very disconnected. Think about it, when was the last time you literally walked outside in your bare feet?

All good stuff but what about weight-loss? Could something as simple as spending time outdoors walking barefoot really help you lose weight? Dr. Laura Koniver says yes.She conducted a 10 week study where participants were asked to touch the earth for a minimum of 15 minutes a day on a daily basis. They were to change nothing else about their diet or exercise habits.

After 10 weeks the participants who started the study with pain had their pain dramatically and significantly improved. The participants who had low to no active pain issues at the onset of the study were the ones that found a significant change in their weight… most of them losing between 4 and 15 lb. in just 10 weeks. And remember they did that by making no other changes to their lives other than touching the earth for 15 minutes a day on a daily basis.  

#4 Sunshine

Our bodies produce vitamin D (which is actually a hormone) from sunlight and maintaining proper levels of vitamin D can help you fight the fat! Even as a little as 15 minutes of sun exposure a day can provide many health benefits including a better mood, improved athletic performance, increased energy levels and more.

Men’s Health did an article on vitamin D and weight-loss where they highlighted studies showing how vitamin D impacts functions in the body that help you lose weight. In the article they point out that because vitamin D is actually a hormone it’s linked to numerous functions in the body. D helps your body release more leptin which is the hormone that sends the “I’m full” message to your brain that causes you to stop eating.

Now a deficiency in vitamin D has been linked to insulin resistance and that can lead to hunger and overeating.

Getting enough D encourages your body to store less fat. D works to keep other hormones known as PTH low. When PTH levels rise in your body they encourage fat storage your body ends up hoarding FAT away rather than burning it up. This is a big deal!  a Norwegian study found that elevated PTH levels increased a man’s risk of becoming overweight by 40 percent.

Vitamin D is also really good for reducing belly fat. Why? Because it works with Calicum to reduce a stress hormone called cortisol. You may have heard of cortisol it’s that little hormone that causes you to store fat around your belly. Less cortisol…less belly fat!

If you would like to read more about the relationship between vitamin D and weight-loss check out the Men’s Health artcile here.

So those are just 4 of the ways that spending more time outside can help you achieve your weight loss goals. Now, let’s talk about Five Fun Ways to get outside and fight the fat

Check out this article on Outside Health and Fitness for Five Fun Ways to Fight the Fat

Join me for 28 Days of Clean Eating….you can’t believe how great eating clean feels!

See You Outside

I’ve been doing Outside Health and Fitness for three years and over that time I’ve met some really amazing people, learned a lot and had a great time bringing you guests, stories and talking about what we a love being outdoors and active.

Unfortunately, I’m no longer able to devote the time or resources needed to keep the show on the air. I will however, keep the back catalog and web properties on-line at least for the foreseeable future.

If things change and I’m able to start up again I absolutely will and if you’re on the mailing list I’ll be sure to let you know. In the meantime, I want to thank you so much for listening to the show and for your support over the past three years.

I hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as I have.

I’m Steve Stearns and I’ll see you Outside.


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