We’re not saying throw out your sunblock, but believe it or not, there are many benefits to getting a moderate amount of sun exposure. As long as you take precautions with your skin, you can rack up a surprising amount of health and mood improvements thanks the rays of our friendly nearby star!
1. It Breaks the Blues
Some people suffer so severely from lack of sun, they can develop what’s known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, which causes feelings of depression and anxiety related to low levels of natural light! Sunlight, researchers have discovered, amps up our production of serotonin, otherwise known as the hormone that makes you feel happy! So the next time the world gets you down, see if a quick sun-bath provides a moderate mood boost.
2. It’s Nature’s Sauna
You know how good a hot bath or a long sauna visit feels on tired muscles after a hard work-out? That’s because heat acts as a natural relaxant on muscles, helping to loosen stiff joints and ease work out aches. Well, guess what: you can get the same benefits from sunshine! Without a lick of water wasted or energy spent, you can give your muscles a relaxing sun massage with a rest in a warm spot.
3. It’s a Vitamin D Powerhouse
Vitamin D is one of those tricky substances that our bodies need but have difficulty getting . But BOY do we need it, as it reduces the risk of high cholesterol, weight gain, and diabetes, among other major benefits. Many experts suggest that mild vitamin D deficiency (which a shocking amount of people face) can be treated effectively with moderate sun exposure. Here’s the kicker: your body will only absorb it if you’re sans sunscreen, so limit exposure to 15-20 minutes daily and do it when the sun is at a weaker point- before 12 pm or after 4 pm.
3. It Increases Calorie Burn
Hot yoga is often touted because the increased heat of the room causes you to sweat more and burn more calories as your body works harder. Skip the room full o’body odors and go for a nice long hike, bike, or jog in the sunshine instead! The warmer air temperature will give you the same benefits of a raised-heat room,
4. It Can Prevent Cancer
What?? Doesn’t it cause skin cancer? Well, yes: excessive sun exposure is linked to increased skin cancer rate. Moderate sun exposure, however, is linked to lower rates of breast, ovarian, and prostate cancers!
Remember that with sun exposure, the key is moderation, of course: keep your unprotected sun exposure limited, and wear a good, strong sunblock for any exposure longer than 15 minutes. That way, you can reap all the benefits above without putting your skin at risk!