The sun seems to get a bad rap, and while it may be true you need to monitor your exposure to harmful UV rays, there are so many benefits to spending time in the sun that when the summer months hit, you just can’t deny it!
Firstly, the sun helps your body produce vitamin D, which is required for cholesterol production and regulation. Cholesterol is always made out to be the bad guy, LDL cholesterol anyways, yet truth be told, cholesterol is necessary for healthy hormone function, so all in all, it’s not all bad.
Sun exposure can even help treat Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), fibromyalgia, MS, and T Cell lymphoma. But there are also some less severe health conditions that it can affect that make getting out in the heat well worth it.
1. Who doesn’t just feel happier when it’s sunny outside? For the average person, a dose of the blues can always be cured simply by walking outside on a sunny day. The sun is an instant happy pill, causing uncontrollable feelings of euphoria, even when you’re not even thinking about it. It doesn’t take much to feel better just by exposing yourself to a little sunlight.
2. The sun is a natural mood and energy enhancer. It’s no wonder that once outside, there’s a new skip in your step or you suddenly feel like running a marathon. Diehard runners might feel that way come rain or shine, but not everyone does, but add some sunshine to your day and that just might be you!
Exercising always gets a boost in summer months and your energy in general tends to see a spike just from the good moods the sun’s rays bring.
3. Sunlight helps you sleep better! Two hormones, cortisol and melatonin, directly impact your sleep cycle. Melatonin in particular is the hormone responsible for sleep, and kicks in at night to help you do just that.
The sun itself supports melatonin regulation through the pineal gland, or “third eye,” thereby allowing you to get useful, restful ZZZ’s each and every night.
4. Sensible sun exposure can actually protect against melanoma. As documented in The Lancet, in the February 2004 issue, “Paradoxically, outdoor workers have a decreased risk of melanoma compared with indoor workers, suggesting that chronic sunlight exposure can have a protective effect.”
So, being in the sun just may be all it’s cracked up to be. However, to the contrary, sun exposure passing through glass windows can increase your risk of melanoma since only UVA light – the skin-damaging, cancer-causing kind – is the only one capable of penetrating through the glass.
5. It’s cheaper than a tanning bed! Tanning beds, or tanning sessions, are costly, and if you’re hell bent on getting a tan, you’ll save yourself truckloads just by getting outside. Beaches, water parks, or even just walking are not only a lot more fun, they’re also a lot cheaper, and a lot of times, 100% free.
6. It’s a natural deodorizer. Believe it or not, exposing your armpits to sunlight can sterilize and eliminate the cause of most body odor, and while you may not do it often, it’s a good tip to remember next time you’re at the local swimming pool, boating or anywhere else outside without any other way to freshen up.
7. Sunlight can treat minor skin conditions, such as psoriasis, rosacea, scleroderma, or dermatitis. Most times you’re told to stay out of the sun to protect your skin, but in this case, it’s been shown that UV radiation enhances the look of many common skin ailments, thereby offering a natural, no-cost remedy.
As a general rule, 20 minutes of sunshine at a time is the recommended daily dose, but don’t be surprised if you’re loving it so much that it just slips your mind.
Everyone waits for summer all year long, so when it hits, it’s hard to play by the rules. Yet when done safely, adding extra sunshine to your life not only enhances it, but can make you look and feel better, and healthier too.