Many of our medical weight loss clients are interested not only in dropping pounds, but in living a healthier lifestyle overall. So along with an eating plan and exercise regimen, you might be interested in other ways to ward off chronic diseases and live a longer life. As it turns out, perhaps your mom was right all along; sunlight and fresh air can be contributing factors to a healthier life!
Research published in Scientific Reports demonstrated a link between self reports of health and well being, and time spent outdoors. The correlation grew significant when participants spent at least 120 minutes per week outside, and grew even stronger with additional time in nature.
It might also interest you to know that participant schedules varied, with some spending hours at a time outdoors while others could only manage 20 minutes or so per day. And yet, this variance didn’t seem to affect the overall results. As long as they spent at least two hours per week outdoors, participants reported the same positive effects.
The limits of the study did not allow researchers to delve into the reasons outdoor time seems to boost health and well being, but we can offer some educated guesses. Stress reduction, increased exercise, and social opportunities might explain the correlation. And of course, we know that exposure to sunlight signals the body to produce vitamin D, which is necessary for important functions such as immunity and bone health. Vitamin D has also been linked to reduced risk of depression, so that might explain those feelings of wellness!
Whatever the reasons for the link, we definitely suggest getting outside more often. Expand your exercise routine to get out of the gym more often, go for an evening walk after dinner, or just spend time reading in your backyard. The happier and more satisfied you feel, the more effective your medical weight loss plan is likely to be. Give it a try and let us know what you think!