1. Expert Health Tips for the Great Outdoors

Expert Health Tips for the Great Outdoors

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Written by: Alice Stevens | Best Company Editorial Team

Last Updated: July 1st, 2020

If you live in a cold and snowy climate, you know that nothing feels better than warming weather and spending time comfortably outdoors.

Take advantage of good weather to be outside. Hiking, swimming, running, or even just taking a walk outside supports your physical and mental health.

Physical health

Taking advantage of nicer weather by exercising outdoors is a great way to boost your physical fitness levels.

“During spring you should take advantage of the longer days and improving weather. You could consider joining a running group in the evening.

Even a short afternoon stroll during a lunch break could be enough to improve your overall health. It's recommended that as little as 30 minutes of walking a day can improve your cardiovascular health, strengthen bones, and reduce body fat,” says Guiseppe Aragona, MD, Prescription Doctor family medicine doctor.

However, it’s important to take some precautions for your health as you move outdoors.

Use sunscreen

Tsippora Shainhouse, MD, FAAD, dermatologist in private practice at SkinSafe Dermatology and Skin Care
“If you have been negligent about wearing it all winter, now is the time to get back into the habit of applying it every morning. Sunscreen is not just for beach days and even 10–20 minutes of unprotected sun every day on your way to work adds up. UV rays can reflect off of water and sand, as well as ice, snow, and concrete, and it can pass through both clouds and window glass. UV rays can directly damage DNA in epidermal cells, trigger unwanted pigment production, and damage structural collagen, which can lead to the development of skin cancers and premature aging, respectively. Look for a light-weight product with broad-spectrum UV protection and an SPF of at least 30. Layer it under your make-up.”

Wear sunglasses

Rahil Chaudhary, MD Managing Director and Ophthalmologist at Eye7 Chaudhary Eye Center
“It may not be summer yet but as we enter spring, the weather will improve and you may want to spend more time outdoors and in the sun. Sunglasses aren’t just fashion accessories. They protect your eyes from UV radiation.

The UV radiation from the sun’s rays can damage your eyes in a number of ways. This could include causing blindness or cancer, and you can even get sunburnt on your eyes.”

Bring a jacket

Jennifer Fidder, M.A. CPPC, Jennifer Alice Training and Coaching LLC mindset coach and personal trainer
“Even though it's getting warmer outside, it can be pretty windy and rainy. Everybody who decides to take their workouts outside should make sure to have a jacket they can throw on after exercising. Being sweaty and cold is the perfect basis for the sniffles.”

Mental health

As you take care of your physical health and stay safe outdoors, remember to take time for your mental health, too.

Spend time in the sun

Myles Spar, MD, MPH, Vault Health chief medical officer and integrative men’s health specialist
“Start getting back outside and soaking up Vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiencies are seen very commonly during the winter months, as we are not exposed to sunlight as much. Vitamin D deficiencies are known to cause a weakened immune system; heavy fatigue and sluggishness; depression; muscle, bone and back pain; and can prevent the body from repairing itself.”

Exercise

Judy Gaman, Executive Medicine of Texas CEO and Stay Young America! podcast host
“When it comes to boosting mental health, we now know that exercise is just as effective, and often more effective than antidepressants. This may be why the change in season can help improve overall mood. We've found that simply tracking movement will cause people to move more. Measuring and monitoring is a great source of self-motivation. That's why we recommend that patients wear a step counter and strive for no less than 10,000 steps per day.”

Meditate

Haley Neidich, LCSW
“In order to improve health and well being this spring, I encourage people to begin a meditation practice. Even just two to three minutes of sitting in stillness daily can have an impact on our health and mental health. People should avoid stress in order to avoid getting sick and to boost their mental health. Meditation helps to combat stress by creating a more peaceful mind. When we meditate, we're able to observe our experiences rather than react to them.”

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