Outdoors, Sunshine & Vitamin D: Healthy Prescription…
Spending time outdoors isn’t just fun . . . it’s excellent for your overall well-being. Being outside in nature fights depression, can lower your blood pressure, boost memory and even could help fight off colds and not feeling well. Here are some of the top benefits of spending more time outdoors.
by Greg Montoya
The Most Beneficial Source of Vitamin D
Vitamin D is essential for a healthy body. It aids in the absorption of calcium, helps prevent osteoporosis and reduces inflammation. Also, is good for blood cells and boosts the immune system. More importantly, helps your body absorb more of the important essential minerals, including phosphorus and calcium. While vitamin D exists in foods, like fortified milk and salmon, you can get over 90% of the necessary vitamin D from exposure to sunlight. Your body actually needs sunlight to generate Vitamin D. During the warm summer months, just 10 to 15 minutes a day 3 times a week. Above all, this will help you soak up enough vitamin D. Thus, during the winter months you’ll need to spend a bit more time outdoors.
A Natural Disease Fighter
Sunshine is a natural disease and infection fighter. Also, essential for boosting the immune system and vitamin D production. Some scientists also believe that inhaling in phytoncides, airborne chemicals created by plants, can increase levels of white blood cells. More importantly, these are necessary to help fight off diseases and infections. Sunlight may also energize T cells in the immune system that help fight infection.
Helps Us Age Gracefully
Research from the Journal of Aging Health indicates that going outside on a daily basis can help seniors stay healthy longer. The study states seniors (in their 70’s) who spent time outdoors every day had fewer complaints of sleep issues, aching joints and other health-related problems than those who didn’t. Research shows that gardening can help stroke and dementia patients improve their self-confidence and social skills, increase dexterity and mobility.
Improves Brain Function and Focus
Having trouble concentrating at work? Experiencing writer’s block? Head outdoors for a few minutes. Spending time in nature helps improve brain function and restore focus. Studies show that you’ll see better results if you walk in nature. Especially, surrounded by greenery than you would by walking in an urban area.
Helps Reduce Pain
Being physically active helps keep joints loose and relieves stiffness and chronic pain. Thus, people who suffer from disease and chronic pain, inflammation is often a persistent problem. Being outdoors encourages more exercise and reduces stress, both factors that reduce inflammation and help manage chronic pain and illnesses.
Helps Fight Anxiety
Having a live plant or a photo of nature nearby can make someone feel less stressed out and anxious. So, just imagine what going outside can do for you! Exercising is an incredible anxiety buster. Sunlight boosts serotonin levels, gives you an energy boost and helps to keep your mood positive, calm and focused.
The great outdoors helps establish a healthy sleep cycle. For example, there are cells in the eyes that require sufficient light to get the body’s internal clock functioning appropriately. When we age, the eyes are less capable of absorbing light, meaning you’re more likely to have trouble sleeping. This makes it even more important to spend time outside.
You Don’t Need a Gym Membership to Lose Weight!
Spending time outdoors helps people lose weight because being out in nature makes exercising feel easier and definitely more enjoyable. For instance, start out with moderate exercise (walking) and work your way up (hiking, etc.). Thus,you don’t need a gym membership, or special equipment. Just head out your door or drive to your favorite park. Therefore, you can do a lot of different exercises outdoors, just get creative. Take along a yoga mat, go for a run, use a park bench for push-ups, etc.
Vitamin D and Getting Sick
Most of us are always researching ways to boost our immune systems. Studies are showing that vitamin D can do just that. Research is even suggesting that a vitamin D deficiency may lead to a more severe health conditions.
Bottom line, spending time outdoors in a green, natural environment is restorative. Whether you take a short walk outside, go hiking, mountain climbing, kayaking, etc., being outdoors is a health enhancing prescription for good health and quality of life.