Between the end summer and the start of autumn, there are a few precious weeks of transition. Kids are going back to school, stores are stocking for holidays, the weather cools somewhat and the days grow shorter. And there are still plenty of opportunities to get outside, and here are five reasons why you should:
- Sunlight is good for your mood and overall health. “Humans make 90 percent of our vitamin D naturally from sunlight exposure to our skin – specifically, from ultraviolet B exposure to the skin, which naturally initiates the conversion of cholesterol in the skin to vitamin D3.” (The Vitamin D Society) Vitamin D is essential to protect against diseases ranging from cancer to heart disease. Sunlight wards off depression, literally by hitting your retina and figuratively by being the antidote to isolation.
- Daylight helps your sleep cycle, setting your body clock to daytime as waking hours and, hence, nighttime as sleeping hours.
- Fresh air is good for your lungs. The air inside our homes and businesses may be recycled through an air conditioner or contain unseen contaminants.
- Your community is outside. This is where you can greet the letter carrier, see neighbors walking their dogs, and hear children at play. Maybe an ice cream truck rolls by as you collect your afternoon mail and newspaper. It’s good to connect with your community, even if stepping outside your front or back door is as far as you
- Convening with gardens and greenery is relaxing. Our connection to nature is well
documented for the peaceful silence, textures, colors, fragrances and the persistence of greenery to grow without human intervention (even weeds!). Gardening or sitting in a garden add quality to your life. Annie Kirk, Owner of Red Bird Restorative Gardens in Portland Oregon says, “Having a go-to, do-not-disturb-I’m-healingmy-brain-soul-body-heart garden space is a tonic.”
What if you live in a cinderblock basement or city apartment? Open a window, grow a kitchen shelf herb garden, go outside and let your senses be your nature guide. Where ever you live look around for opportunities to get outside. Want some ideas in your area? Call one of our social workers today!
Benefits of Sunlight: A Bright Spot for Human Health by M. Nathaniel Mead at
“Sun exposure to the skin is the human race’s natural, intended, most
effective and most neglected source of vitamin D” at www.sunshinevitmain.org.