What are the health benefits of sunlight?

The benefits of 10 to 20 minutes of sun exposure a day are essential to the health, growth, and development of the human body. High in vitamin D which is great for strength, bones and your immune system, sunlight also improves your mood, your sleep, your risk for severe illness and may even aid weight loss.

Why we need Sunshine: Our Fairweather Friend

The sun gets a bad reputation sometimes, with all the warnings about skin cancer, sunburn, and sunstroke. In parts of the world, the UV from the sun is so harsh that you shouldn’t even really expose yourself to the summer sun in the middle of the day.

But sunshine, in moderation, is absolutely essential to humans and has an incredible number and variety of health benefits. Like many things, you just have to not go overboard. A little dose every day can go a long way and is all that you need. We do absolutely need it though, so make sure you are getting a daily dose when you can.

Let’s talk about why we need sunshine…

Why do we need sunshine?

The sun is our most famous source of Vitamin D, a vitamin necessary for healthy and happy living. A remarkably high percentage of the population is vitamin D deficient according to experts, and basically don’t get enough sun.

What are the health benefits of sunshine?

Aside from the superpowers of vitamin D, there are a number of benefits that sunshine has been proven to provide.

Sunshine improves your mood

Being exposed to a little sun encourages your body to release serotonin and endorphins, hormones which basically make you feel happy. People with mental health concerns or those recovering from illness have found great emotional powers in sitting outside in the sun and turning their faces to the sky.

Mothers of new babies who might be stumbling through the first few months not knowing what time of day it is, really benefit from a little dose of sun to help them regulate their moods and work against post-natal depression.

Sunshine helps you to work better

Offices and workplaces that have natural light flowing into them tend to have happier workers and staff that are less sick and more productive.

There have been hundreds of studies into worker satisfaction and productivity and ways to create a happier workplace, and exposure to sunlight is a consistently high factor for good workers.

Sunshine helps you to sleep

Exposure to the sun during the day helps teach your body to sleep better at night. The serotonin released during the day triggers your body to release melatonin ready for sleep at night. It also helps your body to get into the rhythm of alternating your sleep and awake times.

It reminds your body that there is a difference between day and night.

Sunshine can lower your blood pressure and reduce the risk of serious illness

Exposure to a little sun has been a key player in improving general health and reducing people’s risk for a number of serious conditions, including heart attack, stroke, and some cancers. When sunlight hits the skin, it helps release nitric oxide into your blood vessels which brings your blood pressure down.

Sunshine can help you lose weight

Although the reason for this is not really known yet, studies show that people who get more sun exposure and have higher levels of vitamin D are better are maintaining healthier body weights. Exposure to the sun can also help you get started on a weight loss program.

How can you make sure you are getting your sun safely?

Too much sun, however, is bad for you, and at worst can cause skin cancers. So, while you absolutely need some, especially in the cooler months, it is possible to get too much.

Make sure that you are getting your daily dose of sun safely by:

  • Making sure you get 10 to 20 minutes of exposure a day only without sunscreen and practice sun safety the rest of the day
  • It doesn’t really matter which part of your body soaks up the sun, it all gets the benefits. In hotter months you can expose your arms or legs for example and protect the more damage prone skin on your face and neck.
  • During the hottest months, get your daily exposure time first thing in the morning or late in the afternoon – this sun is still just as magic even if it isn’t turned on full yet.
  • The rest of the day wear sunscreen on your face (usually it is contained in moisturizers and foundations) which will protect your skin and lower reduce your chances of developing wrinkles
  • Monitor any moles or skin blemishes and be sure to get them checked out by a doctor if you notice anything changing in color, texture or shape.
  • To help you along, download the app dminder, which allows you to input all of your personal characteristics as well as your location and it will tell you when the best time of day is to get your 20 minutes, and will remind you to do so. Get it here http://dminder.ontometrics.com/

If you can’t get outside, are there supplements that can give you the benefits of sunshine?

In the dead of winter or for people in certain living conditions, it can be a bit hard to get a daily dose of the sun. So, what can you do instead?

Vitamin D supplements daily can greatly assist you in getting much of the benefits that you normally get from the sun. Getting enough vitamin D is essential for growth and development and helps so many of your body’s normal processes to function properly.

While the body can produce some vitamin D naturally, it is nowhere near enough, and we need to boost it with either sun exposure or daily supplements and diet. Our body doesn’t store vitamin D well for long, so we need regular doses, and the long North American winters can greatly deplete these stores.

The benefits of Vitamin D include:

  • Helps your body to absorb calcium
  • Helps to build stronger bones and teeth
  • Helps to build stronger muscles
  • May reduce your risk of cancer and also multiple sclerosis
  • Supports a healthy immune system, nervous system and lovely strong brain
  • Regulates insulin and can help you manage Type 1 diabetes
  • Improves your lung function and your heart health

Contact Eric’s today to find out which Vitamin D supplements might best help you.

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