Quick Tip: Get Outside!

Hi all! So happy to be back here again!

I wanted to let you in on a new healthy habit of mine: getting outside. More specifically, I’ve been spending my weekday lunch time outside. Not a revolutionary idea in the least, but it’s been a big change for me as I would usually spend that time writing blog posts, reading other blogs, and catching up on personal things that needed to be done.

Corner desk

Type, type, typing away…

It started when I was still in class this summer. I felt like I was missing out on some beautiful summer days, spending all of my time at work or inside doing lab experiments. I decided that instead of sitting inside, why not go outside? It was also nice to warm up from the chilly indoor air conditioning (yes, that blanket that I’m using in the picture above for padding is also used to keep me warm!).

While reading, I would make a point to be in the sun for 10-15 minutes to get some vitamin D. I’m glad I did this because I recently learned that even after over a month of doing this and also taking 2,000 IU of vitamin D a day, my levels dipped back down! Do you remember when I was able to get it up to 61 ng/ml? Now look at it! Back down to 38!

Vitamin D July 2014

I obviously have some vitamin D issues. Despite taking a multivitamin, an additional vitamin D supplement, getting sun, and having a healthy diet, it keeps trending down! My PCP told me to increased my dose to 5,000 IU/day, so I’m hoping that, combined with continued outdoor sun exposure, will keep it higher.

When class ended, I decided I would still go outside, and this time go for a walk. I love my BalanceBall chair, but sitting all day isn’t so healthy (and I do transition to a modified standing desk for a few hours most days). So walking seemed like a natural way to stretch out those hip flexors and get the benefits of some low intensity exercise.

Summer stroll scene

Scene from a weekday stroll

Though the amount of time I’m able to be outside for a walk varies, I am able to get out most days. A couple of weeks ago I got out every single day!

Daily walking habit

While going for one of our nightly walks a few weeks ago, I proclaimed to WHH that I intend to keep this habit throughout the year, safety permitting. Granted, I may balk at the idea when it looks like this outside:

Massachusetts polar vortex 2014

But I will try my darndest and push myself to do it. The fresh air, the sunlight, seeing nature (even if it’s just trees on a busy city sidewalk) are refreshing. We’re meant to be outside! We are not meant to be holed up in front of electronics all day.

Massachusetts walking path

Lucky to have this near my work

Questions: Do you try to get outside during your lunch breaks at work? Have you started a new habit lately?

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2 thoughts on “Quick Tip: Get Outside!

  1. Hi Stephanie. I hope that your problems with vitamin D will be resolved!

    I’m writing this down because otherwise I probably won’t do anything I planned to do:

    Right now, I’m a college student, so I spend a lot of hours sitting down in the lecture hall or at on-campus study spots. Breaks are rather short, and are given only once during lecture. I’m thinking of studying while briskly walking around campus (or while at the gym), so that not only do I get to study productively but I’ll do so when my brain and body are both active. I also want to do my homework/books outside in the sun more rather than just lounge in an overcrowded study area like what you’re doing. I had low vitamin D before as well, so I definitely need to get out more. Maybe take my strength/cross training outside, too, when I can.

    Whenever you have a drop in vitamin D, do you ever feel a big change in your overall mood? I’m not sure if there’s a correlation, but when I was deficient, I found myself down more often. But ever since I’ve spent more time frolicking in the sun (and after finishing my supplements) this summer, I’m much happier and more energetic than before. It’s a great feeling. Maybe it’s just the sun, I don’t know.

    • Hi Shelly! Thanks for stopping by! It’s great that you’re making an effort to get outside more! And it’s a great idea to take your strength training outside. That’s something I haven’t tried yet, but have been trying to figure out a way to do it.

      I never noticed a drop in my mood with my drop in vitamin D, but it makes sense that one would (and I believe is even a side effect of deficiency). I’ve definitely felt a bit more “off” during the short daylight hours of our winters here in Massachusetts and perhaps you’ve heard of “SAD,” or Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is a mood disorder that occurs during the shorter days of the year. Is vitamin D to blame? It’s probably part of the problem. But getting outside whenever you can is a great way to combat that! Just being in nature can be soothing, whether it’s sunny or not.

      Congrats for taking control of your health and following through on improving it. It seems you’ve reaped the benefits of that!

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