Fall: the perfect time to be outside

Published 11:00 pm Wednesday, October 15, 2008

How do you get your daily dose of vitamin D? From drinking a glass of milk everyday? From eating fish? From being in the early-morning sun for at least 30 minutes? From all of the above?

I get my dose outside, in my backyard, walking at my own pace, and then drinking a glass of milk afterwards. Trying to live longer, I make it a point to get up in the morning, once the sun is up on the horizon, and do my walking on and around our spacious wooden deck. If I’m motivated enough, I’ll even get out of my house and go around the neighborhood.

Besides breathing fresh air, I get to appreciate the natural world. I find peace doing my morning prayer while walking. (As a Catholic, I try to pray the rosary daily.)


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It feels good to be out there while listening to the National Public Radio news broadcast on my AM-FM radio, after my morning prayer. There’s a feeling of relief that comes from knowing I can’t do as much strenuous exercise as I used to when I was still active in the U.S. Navy.

Doing moderate exercise or physical conditioning to stay (minimally) fit doesn’t have to be that costly. Simply walking around — even around your house, inside or out — for at least 30 minutes a day is just as good as going to a physical fitness center, where you have to pay.

I don’t have anything against fitness centers. In fact, they’re very good for those who can afford to go there. With their specialized equipment and trained, certified fitness trainers, they help many people get fit. But for those who have physical or economic limitations, doing simple exercises or physical conditioning at home can be good enough.

With the beautiful fall weather that we have right now, it’s inviting and invigorating to be out there doing simple, moderate exercise or physical conditioning.

Haven’t you noticed that it’s irresistible to be out there smelling the morning’s fresh air, getting some vitamin D and listening to the birds while walking or strolling around the neighborhood?

Meeting and making new friends in the neighborhood while they, too, are doing their exercise or just plain enjoying the beautiful outdoors, is such a healthy feeling, truly a wonderful experience!

To be out there walking, jogging or running, maintaining your pace, stretching out slowly, but determined to continue to manage your pain, is such a rewarding experience.

You don’t know what is out there until you’re out under the sun, surrounded by plants, flowers, trees, animals and the bright blue skies. And you never know whom you’ll meet along the way.

Being out there under the early morning sun is such a gift. It’s also quite refreshing and therapeutic, especially for those who live with chronic pain. For me, staying active helps me remain optimistic that everything will be all right.

Seize the moment and enjoy it without reservation. Enjoy the fall foliage while it’s there. Soon it will be gone.