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BellaOnline's Natural Living Editor

Eco-Friendly Exercise

The natural rush of endorphins racing through our brains during exercise creates a sense of happiness, joy and greater health. This natural happy hormone exists for an important reason - to help us feel good when we move. Do you ever notice how the longer you sit on the couch the more tired and muted you feel. Yet, when you get up to move, a spark is lit and you feel more energy. Thank those endorphins for reinforcing a sense of joy from bodily movement.

Any workout can be designed to be eco-friendly, but there are a few that stand out among the rest. Maybe you are already doing these workouts? If so, keep up the good work and get your neighbors and friends involved. We are more likely to keep working out when we exercise with other people.

First, whether it is Earth Day or not, there is always a need for beach and forest clean-ups. Think about the last time you went on a walk through your local forest, park or beach. Was there trash skewed about? If so, then make it your feel-good workout on the weekend to walk that beach with gloves and a trash bag. Get your heart rate elevated as you walk and squat to pick up trash, feel the muscles in your legs getting more toned, and feel pride for cleaning up a piece of the Earth. This workout will leave you feeling better about your body and happier in your heart. Grab your friends and family for this weekend workout and feel even better knowing you cleaned up even more and helped the people you love to improve their fitness at the same time.

Second, go take a hike. Most states have great mountain ranges, or at least small hills or forests in which you can explore and adventure. Hiking is a great cardiovascular workout and it strengthens your core muscles as well as your legs, back and arms. As you hike, remember to not leave any trace behind, meaning pack up and take out anything you bring into the forest. And, take moments to stop and breathe along the way. As you look around, breathe in and thank Mother Nature for the amazing gift of life and beauty she has given us.

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