At the beginning of the year, many people make a commitment to make health a greater priority. One of the most important steps is committing to getting outside. Physical exercise, sunlight, and vitamin D all play a vital role in improving and/or maintaining our health, energy, sleep, and mood.
When deciding to make our health a priority, it’s important to get outside. It does your body good.
7 ways getting outside improves your health:
1. Physical exercise helps guard against physical ailments and diseases.
Regular physical exercise is beneficial to overall physical health. It has been shown to help prevent and in some cases reverse medical conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and arthritis.
2. Physical exercise boosts our energy level.
Many people when they are struggling with physical or mental health conditions lack energy and motivation. When we need the energy most, we often have the least. It takes energy to make ourselves exercise, but once you begin exercising, you will reap the benefit of increased energy.
3. Physical exercise also helps control our weight.
Regular exercise both helps prevent weight gain, but also helps maintain weight loss. Although putting it into action can pose a challenge for some, the equation is simple: the more one exercises, the more calories that are burned, less weight is gained.
4. Exercise improves our mood.
Research shows that as little as 15 minutes of exercise a day can impact our brain chemistry and improve our mood. When we feel down, it’s hard to think clearly and both our brain and body go into a lull because of insufficient neurotransmitter production. Neurotransmitters are those naturally occurring chemicals in our brain that help stabilize our mood, help sustain attention and concentration, regulate our hormones, and much more.
But we can help counteract that with exercise because physical exercise helps increase the production of our mood-regulating chemicals. When I begin to feel down or fatigued, one of the first questions I have to ask myself is “When was the last time I exercised?” because I can tell a difference in my mood and energy level when I haven’t exercised recently.
I would encourage you to pick some form of physical activity that you enjoy. When we engage in physical activity we enjoy, we’re more likely to continue doing it. My brother is a triathlete, and I can tell you that there isn’t anything about that that I enjoy. But I enjoy walking, swimming in the summer, and I even tried rollerblading for something new.
5. Exercise helps regulate our sleep.
Exercise uses up physical energy that can make it difficult to sleep at night. It also helps in the regulation of the sleep-wake cycle. A word of caution is in order, however, because exercising too close to bedtime can be counterproductive as the increased energy from exercising can make it difficult to fall asleep in a timely manner.
6. Sunlight helps us manufacture Vitamin D
Another reason for “Getting Out” is to ensure you get enough sunlight which helps us manufacture Vitamin D. Sufficient vitamin D can improve our mood, ward off feelings of weariness, and help ward off physical illnesses and ailments. Many in the northern climates struggle with seasonal disorders, in large part due to decreased sunlight exposure and vitamin D production.
7. Time to converse with God
Getting out also provides uninterrupted time to converse with God. This is when I have some of my best conversations, and I’m not interrupted by social media, housework calling my name, or people at the office needing me for something. Getting out helps take the focus off myself and puts it back on God, the great physician.
Remember to check with your doctor before starting any new kind of physical activity, especially if you haven’t exercised for a long period of time or if you have any kind of medical condition. Once you’re received your doctor’s go-ahead to exercise, I would encourage you to pick some form of physical activity that you enjoy. When we engage in physical activity we enjoy, we’re more likely to continue doing it. My brother is a triathlete, and I can tell you that there isn’t anything about that rigorous event that I enjoy. But I enjoy walking, throwing the frisbee, and bicycling with my children.
What kind of exercise are you willing to commit to doing this week?
Depression doesn’t have to become a permanent part of life.
There is hope.
Hope Prevails: Insights From a Doctor’s Personal Journey Through Depression and the companion Hope Prevails Bible Study help the reader understand how depression comes to be, recover their joy, reclaim their peace, and re-establish their true identity, while knowing their worth, remembering their secure destiny, and being confident that nothing separates them from God’s love.