Health Benefits of Fresh Air and Sunshine

About the Author: Marlene DaCosta, MA, ACSM-CEP, CSCS, CHWC is an Exercise Physiologist and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist with Home Base’s Intensive Clinical Program and Warrior Health and Fitness Program. She is also the owner and founder of Serape Fitness and Wellness, a business that provides in-home personal training and health and wellness coaching services to private clients in the Greater Boston Area.

Feeling “cooped up” is completely natural as we continue to shelter in place.  To help combat that feeling, it is important to take a break and go outside to get some fresh air and sunshine.  It may look a little different now, but the benefits remain the same.  Here are a few reasons to soak up the fresh air and sunshine while we can. Just remember, to give each other a lot of space and watch out for each other.

Simply taking a walk can be beneficial on so many levels. If you are working from home, walking can provide a much-needed break from prolonged sitting which can create muscular tension and aches in our neck, shoulders, arms, low back, legs and hips.  Getting in some steps during the day helps to decrease the health risks for diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and weight gain.

Walking outside can elevate your mood. Feel good chemicals like serotonin and dopamine are produced in the brain during and after your exercise session.  Rates of depression have also been shown to be lowered more effectively in people who walked outdoors versus indoors.

The outdoors can provide a beneficial distraction from the computer and rest for your eyes. Better to look at nature as too much screen time can contribute to eye strain, headaches and blurred vision. If the weather is particularly good it offers you an opportunity to do some yard work, a home repair project or clean-up project that you previously did not have time tackle.

Vitamin D known as the sunshine vitamin is essential for optimal health and has many functions in the body. Spending a lot of time indoors and living in a colder climate can affect our ability to get Vitamin D from the sun alone.  This vitamin plays multiple roles such as assisting in promoting healthy bones and teeth, supporting immune, brain, and nervous system health, regulating insulin levels and supporting diabetes management to name a few.

Last but not least, getting outside can help to spark creativity. For example, we can hit roadblocks when working on a project.  Taking a break from intense thinking and relaxing our mind can help us to generate new ideas and have a new perspective on things, thereby making us more productive. Remember, getting outside even if it is for 5 minutes can be very important as a way to re-energize, focus and spark creativity.  Build it into your routine just as you would fit in a lunch break.

If you have questions about fitting more exercise into your daily routines, reach out to our Warrior Health and Fitness team – and don’t forget to follow @homebaseprogram for #HBHealthAtHome content every day.