Everyday Health, General

Time to Enjoy the Sunshine Vitamin

Yey – we are moving in to Spring and looking forward to the spring time weather! So it’s time to get out there and enjoy the sunshine!

Most people have some opportunity in the day to get outside, even if it is to complete some chores that might otherwise have been done inside – like rocking a pram or making a work call or even hanging the clothes out on the line. Yes, it’s time to have a think about when you can add in some outdoor living – or better still outdoor exercise into your day! This idea is not only a fun way to spend some time but there are health benefits too! We have picked out some motivating reasons to indulge yourself in a bit of physical activity in the sun…..

Protect your good health

The chances are if you are spending time outside, you are likely to be doing some form of physical activity – even if it is just walking around the local petting zoo with the children! It is well known that we must all aim to achieve a minimum of half an hour’s exercise three times a week, which involves raising your heart rate or feeling a bit puffed. Those who exercise are more likely enjoy ‘better general health and health-related quality of life, better functional capacity and better mood states’1. Regular physical exercise is important in the prevention of chronic illnesses including: cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, hypertension, obesity, depression and osteoporosis2.

Boost your Vitamin D levels

From March to November we have the ability to replenish our dwindled stores of that well publicised and vital vitamin – Vitamin D, by simly spending just a few minutes outside in the sun. For more detailed advice on this check out Vitamin D & sunlight. Having sufficient Vitamin D is reduces our risk of developing serious health conditions including the rise of rickets which we have seen in recent years. You know that great feeling after being outside in the sunshine gardening, walking or just picnicking in the park? It may well be down to the mood lifting impact of increased Vitamin D levels.

Improve your mood

Whilst its commonly known that medication, alongside some foods to beat depression can help with our moods, the mental health charity, Mind, has highlighted in a recent report how exercising outdoors in supervised exercise programmes can be as effective as taking antidepressants for alleviating depressive symptoms3.

The charity also surveyed 100 people who were taking part in a ‘green exercise’ experiment, the results are compelling with 90% said that the combination of nature and exercise were most important in determining how they feel, and 90% plus agreed that the programme improved their physical and mental health4.

De-stress and clear your head

Getting outside and away from it all is a calming experience which allows us a little distance from whatever is causing us to feel stressed out. A recent review of studies on physical exercise outdoors versus indoors was more effective at decreasing tension, confusion and anger5. Exercise also physically alters the way that your body handles stress, this was proved by comparing the release of stress hormones, cardiovascular and nervous responses to stress in those who regularly exercise and are fit versus those who are not6.

Use outdoor time as social time

Getting together with a friend for some ‘outside time’ can offer a double win. Just having a chat and ‘chewing the cud’ is always good for your head, when combined with outdoor activity – it has to be an excellent option to feel great! Another way to ‘join in’ with others is to enrol with an exercise club for example: tennis, football, running or walking.

Save your money

The great thing about exercising outdoors is that you do not have to pay! Why not pocket the money for your gym membership and invest in an alternative healthy treat (organic vegetable box, nutritional consultation, complementary therapy session, wellbeing check – or just new trainers!)

You are more likely to continue exercising outdoors

Research has shown that those who exercise are more likely to continue with their routine than those who use indoor exercise options5.

Boost your energy levels

Many of us complain about feeling sluggish or having energy lows. Exercising outdoors has been shown to be more effective at increasing energy levels than indoors. In addition to outdoor activity, consider revisiting your blood sugar levels. A lack of Vitamin D has also been associated with reduced ability to regulate blood sugar7 and therefore getting outside to exercise has many benefits for your energy levels!

We expect you are now raring to go! Now it is time to translate great intentions into real options for you. The first thing we would recommend doing is to get out your diary. Have a think about three times in the week that you could add in outdoor activity into your day. For example:

  • Walk to a sandwich shop further away from the office, or walk into town to pick up your basic supplies, pick up the children from school on foot, park a little further away from work / the station etc.
  • Get off the bus a stop early
  • Take a walk round the block at lunch time, ask a friend to join you
  • Eat your lunch on a park bench that is 15 minutes from your workplace
  • Meet up with a friend, client or colleague in the park or countryside rather than the local coffee shop.
  • Indulge in a walking meeting
  • Do some outdoor chores, gardening, cleaning the patio or path,  hanging out the washing, trimming the roses, painting the railings, washing the windows etc

For more specific outdoor leisure pursuits we suggest:

We are hopeful that these suggestions encourage you and your family to get out and enjoy the gorgeous spring weather. The benefits of outdoor physical activity for your mind and body are indisputable but most importantly, being outside and enjoying your surrounding while they are looking their best in the spring sunshine is fun!

Also Read:

Vitamin D & Sunlight

Vitamin D Deficiency – The Rise of Rickets

Healthy Food Guide – Suggested Meal Options


1 Penedo FJ, Dahn JR, 2005, Exercise and well-being: a review of mental and physical health benefits associated with physical activity, Current Opinion in Psychiatry, 18:189-193

2 Warburton DER, Nicol CW, Bredin SSD, 2006, Health benefits of physical activity: the evidence, Canadian Medical Association Journal, 174:801-809

3 Halliwell E, 2005, Up and running? Exercise therapy and the treatment of mild or moderate depression in primary care, Mental Health Foundation. Cited by Mind, http://www.mind.org.uk/help/ecominds/mental_health_and_the_environment

4 Mind, 2007, The green agenda for mental health. Mind week report. Mind: London. Retrieved http://www.mind.org.uk/help/ecominds/mental_health_and_the_environment

5 Thompson Coon J, Boddy K, Stein K, Whear R, Barton J, Depledge MH, 2011, Does participation in Physical Activity in Outdoor Natural Environments Have a Greater Effect on Physical and Mental Wellbeing that Physical Activity Indoors? A systemcatic Review, Environmental Science and Technology, 45:1761-17772

6 Tsatsoulis A, Fountoulakis S, 2006, The Protective Role of Exercise on Stress System Dysregulation and Comorbities, Annals of New York Academy of Sciences. 1083: 196-213. Issue title: Stress, Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome

7 Alvarez JA, Ashraf A 2010 Role of vitamin D in insulin secretion and insulin sensitivity for glucose homeostasis, The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 95:4220-4222

Disclaimer: Seven Seas Life is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The articles are based on peer reviewed research, and discoveries/products mentioned in the articles may not be approved by our regulatory bodies, you will find no mention of Seven Seas products within the pages of the Seven Seas Life Section..Read more

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