Well, there’s no denying that winter is on its way. The colder weather may make getting outside less appealing but waking up to the first snowfall always makes me smile.
Furthermore my dog’s eagerness to get outside and explore is never diminished because of the weather, and we faithfully get outside for a nice long walk every single day – no matter if there’s rain, shine, sleet or snow. Daily commitments like walking my dog are important to me. Not only does it ensure that I get outside, but it also makes me more productive with other tasks and helps ensure that I accomplish something productive each day.
Besides the exercise component, getting outside everyday is important for a variety of other reasons. Sun exposure stimulates Vitamin D production, which is necessary to keep bones healthy and strong, and plays a role in thyroid function as well as a variety of other functions. Additionally, studies are suggesting that Vitamin D deficiency plays a role in hypertension, cardiovascular disease and even autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis and type I diabetes.
Of course, living in Canada makes it difficult to obtain adequate vitamin D levels from the sun alone for much of the year, therefore it may be necessary to supplement.
I recommend getting your vitamin D levels checked before starting a supplement regime to ensure you are taking the right dose, and then checking them again after a month of so starting the supplement.
Apart from Vitamin D stimulation, getting outside and spending time in nature is necessary for our psychological, emotional and spiritual health. Unfortunately, it’s common to go from our house, straight into our car, drive to work, and then repeat this in reverse on the way home. If you park in a garage you may go a whole day without even going outside!
While studies cannot definitively show a cause and effect with a lack of connection to nature, some studies show that it plays a role in a “diminished use of the senses, attention difficulties and higher rates of physical and emotional illness”. Looking at the other side of the coin, is quite clear that spending time in nature has a multitude of positive effects such as stress reduction, and increased energy & concentration. Additionally, if you workout outdoors, sessions are usually longer and more enjoyable, which leads to meeting goals quicker.
I hope this gives you a little nudge of encouragement to make a point of getting outside everyday. Whether it’s a long hike in the woods with your pooch, or just for a brief walk on your lunch break. Not only will you be doing good for yourself today, but you’ll also be helping to secure your health for the future!
Kresser, C. (2013). The paleo cure. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company.
Louv, R. (2005). Last child in the woods. Chapel Hill, NC: Algonquin Books.