It’s no secret that we aren’t spending as much time outdoors as we used to, but could there be a connection with that and America’s rising obesity rates? Although Oklahoma City is down a million pounds, and national averages have begun to drop as well thanks to Michelle Obama’s campaign, there’s still a ways left to go. So how can sunshine help get you back in shape?
It’s Not a Myth
You have probably heard that going outside is good for you, but it’s more than just the release of endorphins. Here’s the short version of how stepping outside and getting some sun can boost your health:
- Naturally, your Vitamin D levels will increase with the exposure to sunlight. Studies suggest that Vitamin D can help fight certain conditions, including osteoporosis, cancer, depression, and heart attacks. Controlled exposure (pack your sunscreen!) and vitamin supplements if approved by your doctor is an easy practice that can make a big impact.
- Happiness can’t be bought, but it can certainly be given away: nature also tends to release endorphins and elevate mood. Whether it’s the increased light or simply the act of getting away from the screen and moving, your mood will definitely skyrocket.
- Conditions that create difficulty in concentration, like ADHD, may also be helped by spending some time outside. Studies suggest that controlled exposure to natural settings is widely effective in helping to improve concentration. Schools that exercised this practice saw dramatic improvements in standardized testing for reading, writing, listening, and critical thinking skills.
- Studies also suggest that nature can improve healing by reducing stress and pain when recovering from illness or injury. Patients that were treated to a view of the outside world demonstrated less need for pain medication and were back on their feet in a shorter amount of time than those who didn’t.
It Doesn’t Have to Be Exercise
If practicing yoga on your front lawn doesn’t seem like your new favorite hobby, or if you have allergies, you don’t have to miss out on all the benefits. Installing a sunroom, or even a covered patio, can help you get outside without being subjected to the outside weather. Even opening the windows and bringing plants inside can help give off good vibes.
Don’t be afraid to think outside the box, either: reading outside is just as good for your body as it is for your mind. Gardening is another soothing outdoor activity that doesn’t feel like exercise but benefits your body in the same ways. If you have questions about what activities may be best taken outside, talk to your doctor.
If you don’t have a sunroom yet, what are you waiting for? The countless benefits to your health and to your home make it more than just another home improvement project; it’s adding value to your quality of life. Give us a call—we’re happy to help you get started!