With spring (hopefully!) arriving soon, it’s important for all of us to get outdoors. I remember a significant study Dr. S. Panda did, determining the amount of outdoor exposure of people living in San Diego. It amounted to only 1 hour per day; and this is in a warm sunny climate. We don’t go outside enough!

We live from car to house, house to gym, house to work, work to house. We lack sun. The benefits of getting sun exposure are immeasurable. We don’t want to burn, just get sunlight. Even on a cloudy day, enough UV rays are getting through to improve mood, energy, yes, and possibly metabolism. I know Dr. Robb Wolf (of Paleo fame), even on cold days, will sit outside wrapped in warm clothes, just to get this important ‘nutrient’.

It is important even for our sleep awake cycle to get as much natural sunlight early in the day, and later turn down our lights and reduce glare to achieve proper melatonin stimulation.

Benefits? The major ones will be mood and energy. I wouldn’t even advise sunglasses for at least 30 minutes.

When it comes to our health we primarily focus on food, and forget simple important things we can do to improve our overall health and well-being. Sun exposure is simple, yet we stay indoors?! Try to get outside at noon and go for a walk! If work permits, or on the weekend, have your morning coffee or tea sitting outside. Ideally I would love if we all would be outdoors walking or cycling 30 minutes per day.

Trying to achieve balance in life may seem difficult, but each and every time we integrate simple things our mental and physical health will improve. Sun, daily movement (outside preferably), getting to bed early and trying not to spend late evenings watching T.V, or on our computers—these habits destroy sleep. Most of us need to learn to do some form of meditation for stress reduction. I’m the worst at this, but I keep trying—if only to achieve a few minutes of internal calm.

Certainly, avoiding simple sugars and those evening snacks goes a long way for long term health benefits.

This winter many people feel stalled, and I know for sure, if they got outdoors and did just some extra movement beyond the 2 or 3 weekly gym workouts, the weight would begin to come down again.

I would emphasize, however, that health is not just about weight; it’s about activity, stress reduction, and if at all possible, proper deep refreshing sleep.

I think the website called Daily Om is a great one; you can find everything there from techniques for dealing with relationship problems, learning how to like yourself again, co-dependence, procrastination, and so on. Depending on what you are willing to pay, one can do a course and get great insight for $15. Well worth the minor expense if there are areas that you need to become more insightful in.

Nothing can beat the sun. Get outside! Your mood and energy depend on this.

Never give up on finding those things that improve your health. Don’t just focus on food.
You can do it.

Dr. Doug