Spring is right around the corner, and for some of us, outdoor activity is about to take off. Physical fitness, in general, has countless physical, mental and social health benefits, but according to the July 2010 Harvard Health Letter, participating in outdoor activity has many more benefits than we realize.
Vitamin D levels rise as we participate in more outdoor activity. Studies suggest that the benefits of vitamin D include decreased risk of osteoporosis, heart attacks and depression.
You’re more active when you’re active outdoors. If you aim to get outside more, chances are you’re spending less time sedentary, in front of the TV or computer, and more time in motion.
Your mood improves. Exposure to natural sunlight has been proven to improve mood. Sunlight combined with physical activity means more smiles!
Mental acuity and concentration improvements appear to be strongly correlated with being outdoors. Studies show that children with ADHD seem to be able to concentrate better after being outdoors.
You may recover faster from illness and injury. Studies have shown that patients recovering from surgery experienced less pain when exposed to natural light.
With any change to activity, it’s always important to pay close attention to your feet. Here are three tips to ensure that you are well-equipped for return to outdoor activity!
- Check your shoes how long has it been since you replaced your shoes? If you don’t know, chances are they are due for replacement. Depending on activity levels, shoes only tend to last between 8 months and one year. It is also important to ensure that you are using shoes that are appropriate for the activity you are participating in.
- Take it slow. This is especially important if you are returning to activity after a period of inactivity, or are trying a new activity. Start slow, and increase duration and intensity of activity gradually. Too many injuries are caused by doing ‘too much, too soon, too quickly”. The best policy is to listen to your body; it will surely tell you if you’ve done too much!
- Protect yourself and stay hydrated. It’s easy to forget about sunscreen and hydration in the spring. Temperatures are mild, and we do not feel the sun’s rays in the same way as we do in the summer. Use a moderate SPF sunscreen, wear light, protective clothing and keep an eye on UV ratings when you’re spending long periods of time outdoors. Stay well hydrated; make sure you consume enough water before, during and after activity.
If you have any questions or concerns about your foot health, don’t hesitate to contact your pedorthist today!