Summer is winding down and the kids are back to school which means many will be spending more time indoors whether it’s because of the weather cooling off or all that homework that needs to be finished. There are plenty of reasons to maintain outdoor activities into the cooler months for yourself and your family. If you find that you are one of the many people that spend little time outdoors once summer is over or this sounds like someone you know-you may want to keep reading.

Sunlight hitting the skin begins a process that leads to the creation and activation of vitamin D. Studies suggest that vitamin D helps fight certain conditions, from osteoporosis and cancer to depression and heart attacks. Limited sun exposure is a good regimen and shouldn’t just be limited to the summer months.
Light also tends to elevate people’s mood and there’s usually more light available outside than indoors. Getting some sunshine or daylight can improve your mood and ease symptoms of depression. It will also make you more alert and focused to get some natural light on a daily basis. When you are outside you are usually getting more physical activity which has been shown to help people relax and cheer up. If you tend to feel more tired or depressed once summer is over-spending a little more time outdoors may improve this.

If you make getting outside a goal, that means less time in front of the television or computer screen and more time walking and doing other things that put the body in motion. Exercise keeps the body healthy and in motion as well as elevates your mood. Those who get exercise also tend to improve their quality of sleep. Taking a walk during your lunch break or a family walk after dinner can help burn off that extra energy that keeps you up at night. There is a reason kids fall asleep quicker after a day at the park versus a day spent indoors.

While there are plenty of outdoor activities to choose from during the summer-inactivity doesn’t have to start once the pool closes. Throwing an extra layer on in the fall to take a walk or bike ride will help you feel better and can become a family or social activity you’ll look forward to. A short 15 or 20 minute walk with the family can also be a great time to talk to your kids about how their day at school went without just getting a one word answer in between commercial breaks.

Being active outside more often can help kids with health issues such as obesity, reduced symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, increased vitamin D production, which may help protect a child from future bone problems, heart disease, and diabetes; and improved distance vision. It can also familiarize them with their local neighborhood and outdoor environments, boosting their self-confidence.
For adults, spending more time being active outdoors can help with weight management, reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease (cognitive function is enhanced by physical activity), increase opportunities for social interactions, an increase in energy and improved immunity and reduced risk of diabetes, heart attack and some forms of cancer.

Adults and children can all benefit from outdoor activities and special times with family and friends that will create memories that last a lifetime!