Build a Better Me, Month 6: Spend More Time Outdoors

Build a Better Me Healthy Blogging Challenge

My various jobs require that I spend a lot of time indoors. If I’m not at the computer, I’m in the kitchen. I decided that I don’t get enough fresh air. This past month, I’ve tried to spend more time in the great outdoors.

Part of this was my choice and part was forced upon me. We have two air conditioning units – one services the upstairs (living room, kitchen) and one services the downstairs (bedroom, office). Our upstairs unit has been out of operation since mid-May. Fortunately, the weather has been absolutely lovely during most of this time and it has really been nice to have fresh air circulating inside the house. Yes, it gets hot upstairs in the late afternoon, but I’m finding that I feel much more connected with nature. I actually remember to water my plants on the deck. I’m much more attuned to the weather and approaching thunderstorms. I find myself wandering out on the deck much more often to do things like read a magazine. We go outside after dark to take in the stars. Not only is the lack of A/C saving us on our electric bill, but it is having a generally positive impact on our quality of life. Go figure.

Bean teepee

Bean teepee at Hatteras Island Community Garden

Gardening is also helping me spend more time outdoors. Most years, I plant tomatoes, peppers and herbs in containers. Then, somehow, The Grillmaster ends up watering them for me. It’s not that I don’t want to do it, I just forget because I’m so busy doing indoor stuff. This year, I’ve been doing my own watering and I even helped out at our local community garden a few times. The Grillmaster, some local Master Gardeners and I hosted 50 third graders to teach them about the Native American Three Sisters Garden concept. The idea is that you plant corn, beans and squash together – the corn grows tall, the beans use the corn as a trellis and the squash provides ground cover for the beans and corn. The kids also planted beans around a teepee structure, which is now completely covered.

I’ve also been taking daily walks on the beach. I roll out of bed, put on exercise clothes, grab a nutrition bar and a bottle of water and head for the sand. I generally walk for 30 to 60 minutes, then I come home, eat breakfast and shower. Most mornings, all of this is done before 9 a.m. I feel so accomplished. I’ve found that simply by walking every day, I have more energy, I’m more clear-headed and stress is much less a factor in my life. My glucose control is better too.

I highly recommend spending more time outside, especially for those of you with desk jobs. I’m enjoying this so much, we may not even bother getting our A/C fixed!

3rd graders from Cape Hatteras Elementary School

Third graders from Cape Hatteras Elementary School

Quick reminder: Those of us involved with Virtual Potluck are working to make ourselves healthier in 2012, but we aren’t focusing exclusively on losing weight. Once a month, we’ll each be posting what we are doing to improve our health and well-being. Thanks again to Foodhunter’s Guide to Cuisine for coordinating this project.


  1. says

    Great post Shelby! I get caught up in the inside chores myself. I am in and out a lot during hay season, but if I’m not running errands for the guys I end up never going outside. Also I love the gardening method, that is so interesting.

  2. says

    The three sisters concept (also known as a milpa) is also a good way to preserve the quality of the soil. The beans provide nitrogen for the corn, which is a heavy feeder. The three are nutritionally complete too.

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