Fox’s favorite key to happiness

A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world.
~Paul Dudley White

It’s very simple.

Go for a walk.

Outside. Preferably when it’s sunny.

That’s it. Really. It’s as simple as that. The nice thing is that you don’t have to have money, or special equipment, or anything. And it works for everyone. Walking around outside regularly will make you a happier person, I guarantee it.

Why? Well, ever hear of Seasonal Affective Disorder? It’s the technical name for cabin fever. Winter comes and it’s cold and dark all the time and you don’t go out and you find yourself suddenly depressed and unhappy. During the summer, the condition disappears.

Humans evolved as active, outdoor creatures. We’re not sloths, be they three- or two-toed. I once spent a weekend at a friend’s house. We sat around, all day, all weekend, on the couch and watched television with the curtains closed and the AC on. I was cold, unhappy, cramped, depressed, and pissed off. My friend is not in the best of health and never really has been. Furthermore, she could shave a bit off her light bill by using natural lighting during the day.

It’s my opinion (not backed by anything at all) that a lot of people are affected by something akin to SAD year-round. I feel most people would find themselves fitter, healthier, and happier if they merely got outside for a walk or a bike ride or a bit of skateboarding or what have you a couple times a week. Regular exercise may be more critical to maintaining proper weight than any diet, and furthermore, physical exercise releases endorphins that lighten one’s mood. You feel better because you feel better, and you feel better because you’re healthier, all for the cost of a little time outside running around. Win-win scenario, in my opinion. Sure, you might do like I did once and trip and fall and crack your wrist, but that could happen anywhere, at any time, during just about any activity, so why worry about it? The benefits and peace of mine I get from regular outdoor exercise far outweigh the risks.

And even if you can’t get outside, at least try to bring the outdoors in. You have windows, use them. In the winter, when the days are short, sometimes I can’t get to my walk until after dark. I still go. A walk in the dark is better than no walk at all, and sunlight without exercise is still better than nothing.

So get outside and be happy.

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3 Responses to “Fox’s favorite key to happiness”

  1. shimmerhawk Says:

    I wholeheartedly agree with this. If I don’t get outside for my walks for exercise, fresh air, sunlight, and a dose of nature, my mood goes right down the toilet. I also always have the blinds open during the day and the windows open in summer. I’ve never understood people who have their window blinds closed all the time.

    Although it’s pretty cold here at times and you do need enough money to buy decently warm clothing for winter walks. Cheap stuff won’t cut it if it’s -30.

    • -30?!

      I would keel over and die. I am very pleased with the mild winters of my native Texas. I’m even more pleased with the excessively hot and long summers of my native Texas.

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