Why soaking up a daily dose of Sunny-D is important

Ella Schuellerman, Arts & Life Editor

This week in E’s Editorial, I dive into a daily goal I am trying very hard to maintain. With the recent time change, I’ve lost an hour of sunlight each day. The sun setting sooner is not stopping me from soaking up all the health benefits a little bit of sunshine can do. (Ella Schuellerman)

Moving my body has gained new meaning as I have gotten older. When I was 8 years old, it meant going outside until sundown with my brothers, running around the yard and making forts in the trees. At 21 years old, it means trying to get even 10 minutes outside before sundown. 

A wonderful local option for John Carroll students to unplug is taking a walk or jog around the nearby Shaker Lakes (pictured above). (Ella Schuellerman)

Once we hit college, more and more responsibilities fall on our laps. Some people go to school full-time and work a part-time job. Student athletes hustle between the classroom and the field. Young parents who juggle kids and college classes can barely catch a breath. All of a sudden, it becomes harder to make time to step outside. 

With remote learning, a fellowship, a part-time job and The Carroll News going digital, I have limited opportunities to move away from my desk and out the door. Despite understanding the benefits of taking the time to go outside, some days I simply do not have the time. 

According to a 2010 Harvard Health Letter, the key to better health and better life is getting outside. What is outside “beckons” us, says the newsletter. According to the Environmental Protective Agency, the average American will spend 93% of their life inside. As we get older and more to-dos fall on our laps, we don’t even have a choice to leave the house sometimes. 

Why is it important for us to stop the clock and step outside even with a busy schedule? Is there even an option to stop and smell the roses? 

For people who live closer to downtown Cleveland, there are various boroughs to take a weekend stroll in. My all-time favorites are Hingetown (pictured above) and Tremont. (Ella Schuellerman)

“Spending time outdoors seems to have discernible benefits for physical and measurable health.” The Harvard Health letter emphasizes the disease-fighting powers of getting just a little bit of vitamin D, even if it is for 10 to 15 minutes. In addition to strengthening our bodies, being outside makes us happier humans, improves our focus throughout the day and helps us heal faster.

The letter mentions that spinal surgery patients experienced less pain and stress and took less pain medication while recovering if they spent some time exposed to natural light. My brother recently had spinal fusion surgery, and one of the biggest ways we saw his recovery improve was through our neighborhood walks, even just one week post-op. 

If the sun can make my brother feel better after having a major surgery, I am certain it would make me feel better after being glued to my desk all day. Something I promised myself I would do every day during remote learning was close my laptop at 5 p.m sharp each day. It was my time to put a bookmark in whatever life had open at the time, take a break and go for a walk around my new neighborhood. 

In a SCL Health article on the benefits of sunlight, researchers emphasize even a few minutes a day is a good goal. “It only takes 5-15 minutes of sunlight exposure on your arms, hands and face to get your daily value.” Dermatologist Dr. Jared Heaton reminds sunshine-lovers that sunscreen is a must. No matter the season, we need to protect our skin all year around. If I am going to recommend sunlight to you like the medical professionals, I need to emphasize that a daily dose of sun includes protecting your skin with at least a little SPF. 

This daily goal gets me through my weeks that otherwise would be completely saturated by the redundant and mundane tasks of online work and learning. Right now, the weather in Ohio is indecisive but has graciously given us some beautiful autumn afternoons. As we slowly transition into winter months, my outdoor moments are even more important to me, and no amount of soon-to-be snowfall will stop me from getting my daily Vitamin D.


Cleveland Metroparks: https://www.clevelandmetroparks.com/parks/visit/activities/event-activity-types/hiking-walking

Fitt Cleveland’s Most Beautiful Walks to Take: https://fitt.co/cleveland/articles/walk-cleveland