5 Reasons You Need Sunshine in Your Life
5 Reasons You Need Sunshine in Your Life
I’m not sure about you, but I’m ready for springtime weather and warm sunshine. This winter has seemed to drag on and on and I’m in desperate need of a barefoot stroll on the grass. In addition, nothing makes me happier than basking in the sun and soaking up as much Vitamin D as possible.
I know – “Wear your sunscreen.” Skin health is important, but so is the absorption of Vitamin D. There’s nothing wrong with a little sunshine now and then.
Just living is not enough…one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.
Hans Christian Andersen
Did you know sunshine provides many health benefits? Here are 5 reasons you should opt for a stroll in the sunshine today:
- Sunshine improves your mood. According to Rachel Nall, RN, BSN, CCRN, “Exposure to sunlight is thought to increase the brain’s release of a hormone called serotonin. This is associated with boosting mood and helping a person feel calm and focused.” Without sunlight, your serotonin levels decrease, and you have an excess of melatonin. Melatonin makes you sleepy. This also causes Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, which is a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons. Per the Mayo Clinic, “SAD symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody.” Remedy: Go outside and get some sun!
- Sunshine lowers blood pressure. Nicholas Baklar reports for the New York Times and says, “Researchers exposed 24 healthy volunteers to ultraviolet A radiation for 30 minutes with an intensity comparable to noon on a sunny day in Southern Europe. The exposure caused a small but significant drop in blood pressure compared with when the same people were exposed to sham UVA radiation. Although the drop was significant, “Sunbathing is not the solution. Getting sunlight is not enough if your blood pressure is high. And if you have high blood pressure, you need to get it controlled,” says Richard B. Weller, a dermatologist at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. Remedy: Use sunbathing as a supplement to your already medically supervised high blood pressure elimination strategy.
- Sunshine reduces risk of Type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is a disease of consistent high blood sugar which can lead to many health issues including blindness, nerve damage and heart disease. Marc Sorenson of the Sunlight Institute notes that in one study “blood-sugar levels were lower during the summer, and another demonstrated exposure to sun lamps increased insulin secretion.” Furthermore, another investigation “showed that women who had active sun exposure habits had a 30% reduced risk of type-two diabetes. Remedy: Sunbathe in addition to your other type 2 diabetes prevention and maintenance.
- Sunshine helps assists in better bone health. Healthy and strong bones are part of any complete health strategy, and sunshine can help! Vitamin D stimulates the absorption of calcium and magnesium, which are both critical to maintaining strong bones. Vivian Goldschmidt, MA of the Save Our Bones Institute mentions that “studies have shown that sunlight is an excellent natural source of Vitamin D3, the best form of Vitamin D, also known as Cholecalciferol. Spending just 20 minutes or so a few days a week in the sun, without sunscreen, can provide you with a healthy amount of Vitamin D3.”
- Sunshine promotes healthy eyes. We’ve all heard that sunlight is bad for your eyes, but this is not completely true. According to the Active Times, “Vitamin D has been linked to improved vision and eye aging.” Bernarr Macfadden’s research is documented in “Strengthening the Eyes: A System of Scientific Eye Training” and details that, “The eyes were made to react to the light, and in its absence they deteriorate and become weak. Fishes which live in sunless caves become blind; miners and people living in dark tenements develop all sort of eye troubles. Their eyes become increasingly sensitive to the light-rays until after a time they cannot look at strong light at all without pain.” Remedy: It’s okay to ditch the sunglasses sometimes, however, it is never suggested you should look directly at the sun.
- Bonus: Sunshine decreases Dementia Symptoms. As Vitamin D is absorbed through exposure to sunshine, lack of absorption can cause many health problems, including dementia. The scientific journal “Dementia and geriatric cognitive disorders” includes a 7-year study that “showed that the risk of non-Alzheimer’s dementia was 19.7 times higher in people who had Vitamin D levels less than 10 ng/ml (severely deficient) than those who had higher levels.” Remedy: As you age, it’s important to keep your mind as sharp as the rest of your body and plenty of sun is necessary for this.
This spring and summer, grab your friends and family and go on an adventure outside. Picnics are fun and a great way to catch up with loved ones. They are also a great way to bask in the sun while enjoying food and friends.