Go outside

Improve vitamin D levels and overall mood


Harvard University estimates that 1 billion people globally are low in vitamin D. Because humans produce vitamin D primarily by absorbing the sun’s UVB rays, the easiest and simplest way to increase vitamin D levels is by getting outside. (Photo Credit: Brooklyn Rue)

As the bell rings and you dash out of your seventh hour class,  you are pleasantly surprised to see the grass is green again and there is but a slight chill in the air. Still, you can feel the rays of sunshine beaming into your skin. Instantly, your mood seems to have improved, and you have forgotten all of the anxiety from the school day. Once in your car, you put on a pair of sunglasses, crank down the windows, and blast your radio.

Spring has finally arrived. The temperature is gradually increasing, and it appears as though the sun has returned, rearing her face after being absent for much of the dark winter months.

Nutrition Research states that 41.6 percent of Americans are deficient in vitamin D year-long, and this number only increases in the winter. According to The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the sun’s rays become so indirect during the winter months that our bodies have difficulty absorbing its UVB rays. Absorbing these UVB rays is the primary way humans produce vitamin D in the body, and thus in the winter, many of us are deficient in vitamin D.

Insufficient vitamin D levels have been linked to seasonal affective disorder, a form of depression, as well as muscle and bone loss, an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, and cancer, according to U.S. News & World Report. Even if you don’t suffer from these more extreme symptoms, you may have difficulty thinking clearly, bone pain, muscle weakness, and general fatigue due to low levels of vitamin D.

So, what is the solution? Simply put, get outside. It is a shame to let this beautiful change in weather go unappreciated. As a culture, we don’t value enough of the simple goodness of getting some much needed fresh air or just letting the sun sink into your skin.

Skip rewatching your favorite Netflix series for the umpteenth time, and instead, read a book in your backyard. Rather than meeting a friend for dinner, cook a homemade meal, and enjoy it out on the patio or sitting in the grass. Do your homework outside, in the presence of the glowing sun. Maybe instead of hitting the gym, take a run around your neighborhood.

Not only will your vitamin D levels increase, but your general mood and well being might, too. Research done by the journal Extreme Physiology & Medicine even shows that exercising outdoors can improve one’s self esteem and reduce feelings of anger, depression, and tension.

All in all, going outside is beneficial for you. Slap on a good sunscreen , and enjoy the sun’s rays.