Saturday, February 26, 2011

Cabin Fever

One of the things that I have a greater problem with since I'm older is SAD. Seasonal affective disorder is a real problem for some people if you read the literature on depression. The winter months take a toll on folks by making the sun hard to come by and making the time spent outside uncomfortable. So we don't get enough vitamin D. According to's article on longevity, just going outside is a good thing and we should consider it a part of out good health regime.

Here is what they say:

Life expectancy can be increased simply by going outside. See, what happens when you go outside is that your skin gets exposed to sunlight. That exposure triggers cells in your skin to produce Vitamin D. This vitamin (really a prohormone, but let's not worry about that here) is essential for bone health and is turning out to be important in depression, heart disease, diabetes and just about everything.

Some estimate that 50% of adults have low levels of vitamin D, because we simply don't get outside that much (sitting by a window doesn't count, the glass filters too much of the sunlight). This is a shame, because maintaining vitamin D levels has to be the easiest and cheapest way to improve your health and increase your life expectancy. Getting outside for just 15 minutes a day and exposing your hands and face to sunlight is enough to maintain vitamin D levels in most cases.

I have promised the blog and myself to find some exercises to do at home. I have to keep them simple because anything elaborate and I'll quit. I think I can, for a while, do something outside for 15 minutes a day. When the heavy heat of summer comes I may have to rethink. But for now, outside is a good thing. Of course the time outside doesn't have to be all at once. Walking through a mall parking lot to go shopping can count for a few of those minutes. Just think, a new excuse to shop!


  1. Much like you, I also suffer from SAD, and I admit it, I don't get out as much as I should. Yes, I do have to go to work so I do get out at least five days a week, but only to travel back and forth to work. On weekends, when not a food shopping weekend, I live in my flannels. I don't go out from Friday to Monday...and I know that's why it effects me so. It's just so much bother to bundle up when there is no place to go.

  2. Many people suffer from SAD. I didn't realize that was causing my winter blues until a neighbor was talking about how it affected her husband. Now I crave being outside and try to be cognizant of getting enough sun in winter. It's been such a horrible winter that it's a challenge to get out and walk, which is our exercise of choice.

  3. THey ain't just whistlin' Dixie! I've been taking Vitamin D supplements for quite some time and it has really improved my quality of life. I'm more awake and more energized and happier. It has really helped me make it through these dark winter months when I can't get to the sun.

  4. Hi Judy! I wanted to come by and thank you for visiting my blog yesterday. I fully agree with your comment, "depends on the day". When I was writing the list, I had just finished dealing with an issue with my son. At the moment, all I could think of was- Medussa! Yes, definitely depends on the day =).

    I haven't been getting outside enough lately. And it isn't cold here in CA, colder than usual, but not cold... so there really is no excuse. I need to get out more... especially with my kids.