Ah, the great outdoors. We froze through the polar vortex and finally the payoff – A pure Michigan summer. Here’s my advice: Wrap your arms around it because it’ll be gone in the blink of an eye. Make your list of 10 things you want to do outside and knock them out one at a time. Go catch some fireflies, spend an hour tonight stargazing, eat a delicious, fresh peach, plan a romantic picnic, lay in a hammock and do nothing at all…
This isn’t about being lazy, it’s about taking care of your health. Study after study attests to the powers of Mother Nature and the benefits of natural light. It’s a mood booster. I remember a study that showed patients in the hospital with a window view of the outdoors experience a quicker recovery. So in the interest of good health, get outside.
Sunlight on your skin gives you a boost of vitamin D but, if you’re like most Americans, you’ll spend 90% of your life indoors. And the older we get, the less likely we are to step outside. People over 50 generally need higher amounts of vitamin D. Studies have suggested that Vitamin D can help you battle depression, fight off heart disease and osteoporosis.
But with all the warnings we hear on the news of the dangers lurking in your backyard, it’s a wonder we go out at all. Sure, we need to be aware but not so fearful that we never venture out the front door.
“Give yourself a good dose of the sunshine vitamin during these summer months but don’t overdo it; moderation is always the key,” says Dr. Ann Lafond of Canton Dermatology. “Sunblock is a good idea when you’re spending long periods of time outdoors – especially midday.”
Dr. Lafond says vitamin D from sunlight is more effective than supplements. “When we take the proper precautions, the benefits of sunlight far outweigh the risks.”
Once you commit to more time outdoors, you can’t help but feel better. If you’re spending less time at your computer or in front of the television, chances are you’ll spend more time walking, bicycling, swimming. Just get moving. It’s sure to give your health a boost.
Humans were meant to be out in nature. It’s important to see green and smell flowers and jump in fresh water. And lucky for us, Michigan is a water wonderland. This is your chance. Don’t waste it. We’ll be back to the polar vortex in no time!