Across the globe, those in areas affected by the recent outbreaks of coronavirus have been restrained to their own house. Many are faced with the unbearable fact that they will not be returning to school or work, are not able to go out with friends, and won’t be seeing relatives for a while. What most people don’t realize, however, are the harmful effects that not seeing the sun and enjoying the air outside of their house can do to them.
Vitamin D, which is given off by sunlight, plays an important role in our bodily functions. However, lack of sunlight exposure due to hiding indoors all day can lower the levels of this crucial vitamin. Muscle weakness, fatigue, weakening bones, and pain are the most common effects of deficiency to vitamin D. Physical health can easily be compromised by not being exposed to the sun and the vitamins it offers.
In addition to this, sunlight also plays an important role in determining our mood. The fact that it's much easier to find someone in a good mood on a sunny day than on a cloudy, dreary day is no coincidence. Exposure to sunlight boosts serotonin levels, the chemical which boosts mood. Because of this, lower mood or even depression could easily result from not stepping foot outside the house.
When confined to only the boundaries of a home, it's hard to find the chance to get up and move around. Whether it be walking from class to class, going to the gym, or practicing sports, many find a way to string physical activity into their daily routine. Because of social distancing, many of these conventional ways of exercise are no longer available. Maintaining a healthy body and happy mood could be even harder than ever for many who have had to give up staying active.
Although social distancing is crucial in a time like this, not all hope is lost for those who look to keep a healthy lifestyle. Because coronavirus is not necessarily airbourne, walking/running outside is an easy answer to those that are tired of the familiarity of their own home. For others, designating a small space inside their house or in their yard for small workouts could make up for the lack of public gyms.
Although faced with circumstances that are anything but ideal, everyone still has control over actions that improve their mental and physical health- use this to your advantage!