Lions, tigers, and bears, oh yes! Tired of walking on the same old streets and sidewalks? Head to the nearest zoo for a walk on the wild side while you enjoy the company of giraffes and zebras. Read on to discover the health benefits of a Zoo walkabout.I took my three-year-old daughter to explore the 133-acre Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens last week. We had an amazing time, and I gained a lot of insight into why zoos make great places to exercise. I only stayed at the zoo for two and a half hours, but according to my Withings Activité Pop, I managed to walk about 3,800 steps during that time. I also got a bonus arm workout from constantly lifting my three-year-old up and down to get better views of the animals. Zoo and Aquarium Visitor provides some helpful tips on getting the most out of a zoo walk. It recommends swinging your arms and explains that holding your arms at a 90 degree angle can help you burn an additional 5-10% of calories. One way to ensure you maintain a 90 degree angle is to use a walking stick, which keeps your arm in the correct position, and to alternate hands every few minutes during the walk. 2013 study on the effects of outdoor walking published in the journal, Ecopsychology, concludes that walking outside may be particularly beneficial for well-being, and that walking in green spaces may put the brain into a meditative state. Another study concluded that jogging outdoors makes people 50% happier than working out in a gym does. Sara Warber, the author of the first study and Associate Professor of Family Medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School, explains that ”walking is an inexpensive, low risk, and accessible form of exercise, and it turns out that combined with nature and group settings, it may be a very powerful under-utilized stress buster.”
The Zoo: Your New Favorite Workout Spot?
June 2, 2016