Warning: Getting a Little Bit of Sun is Actually Good for You
There is more to summer than good times and tan lines. Even though it might feel miserably hot outside, summertime could be the most beneficial season for your overall health and well-being.
For thousands of years, doctors and health practitioners have known the healing power of the sun. During Roman times, healers prescribed sunbathing, medically known as Heliotherapy, to those suffering from depression. Greek Olympic athletes were required to sunbathe before a competition believing it strengthened muscles and nerves.
But over the past few decades, we have been warned of the dangers of the sun. While it is true that too much sun exposure over time causes skin damage and leads to skin cancer and premature aging, the sun is not only essential for plants to grow and thrive, but for you as well.
How Summertime Improves Health
When sunlight hits your skin in the form of UVB rays, cells are triggered to produce Vitamin D. Throughout the year, though, our Vitamin D levels fluctuate. The more pleasant the weather, the more time we spend outdoors allowing for vitamin D production.
Vitamin D from the sun plays a critical role in everything from bone and joint health to muscle strength, blood pressure, mood and the immune system. Science believes that Vitamin D is related to preventing disease and even certain cancers.
1. Higher Sun Exposure Results in Lower Blood Pressure
According to the World Health Organization, high blood pressure is the leading cause of early death and disease worldwide. Studies have shown that those who suffer from sunlight deficiency have increased cholesterol levels and LDL levels (the bad cholesterol) tend to be higher in the winter than in the summer.
A healthy cardiovascular system is dependent upon increased sun exposure. UVA rays prompt nitric oxide to be released. As it enters the bloodstream, nitric oxide acts as a vasodilator, opening up the arteries and allowing increased blood flow and more energy.
Other studies show that UVB light leads to a significant decline in both diastolic and systolic blood pressure (the top and bottom number of a blood pressure reading).
2. Keeping on the Sunnyside Puts You in a Better Mood
Changes in latitude really do to change your attitude. In the summertime, Earth is closer to the sun and UVA and UVB rays are stronger. When sunlight hits our face, serotonin and cortisol is produced. Increases in serotonin turnover in the brain boosts brain function and dynamically enhances brain responses, leading a person to be more open to new ideas and having a more positive outlook.
But as the seasons change, the northern hemisphere is further away from the sun, causing lower serotonin levels and irregular cortisol secretions that lead to mood swings, poor impulse control and weight gain.
3. Long Summer Days Equals to Better Sleep at Night
Sunlight is nature's timekeeper and regulates our circadian rhythm. When the light from the sun reaches your eyes, it tells our body it is daytime. People experiencing insomnia may benefit by waking up early in the morning and getting at least one hour of summer sunlight exposure in order to help the body clock reset itself.
Reports show that people with regular circadian rhythms tend to maintain a healthy weight and fight disease more efficiently.
4. Sun Kissed Skin is Healthy Skin
In addition to heart health and better sleep, there is healing power from the sun for your skin. With antimicrobial effects, UV rays from the sun can reduced bacteria up to 50% and provide relief for certain skin conditions such as acne, eczema, fungal skin infections and psoriasis. The sun also speeds up wound healing time.
With the heat and the sun, there is no doubt you are going to break a sweat. But that is a good thing! Sweating is the body's way of naturally detoxing impurities from the body and our pores, keeping skin fresh and clean.
Pro Tip: When going outside, wait a few minutes before applying sunscreen to reap the benefits without getting a sunburn.
5. Soaking Up the Sun Improves Muscle and Joint Performance
Sunlight is a primary source of vitamin D and helps your body absorbs calcium, which is needed for optimal joint and bone health. Higher vitamin D levels lead to a better the calcium absorption rate.
UVA, in combination with vitamin D from the sun, has also shown to relieve arthritis pain and is inversely associated with rheumatoid arthritis. Studies reveal that people experiencing RA had lower levels of vitamin D when compared to a control group.
Vitamin D is also linked to numerous autoimmune disorders. Another study finds that sunlight may have the potential in reducing chronic pain for those with Fibromyalgia.
6. Sunlight and Cancer Reduction
While the sun may cause certain skin cancers, it is also responsible for preventing other types of cancer. Every tissue and cell in the body has a vitamin D receptor. And it impacts a variety of genes, even cancer genes. In men, prostate cells activate vitamin D and inhibit cancer growth. UV light also influences sex hormones such as testosterone that impact vitality and masculinity.
For women, increasing vitamin D intake projected a 50% reduction in colon cancer and a 50% lower risk to Breast Cancer, making it even more important that you fill in the gaps for your nutritional needs.
No Downside to Sunshine
By getting a sensible amount of sunlight in combination with supplements, diet and nutrition we can maximize wellness and prevent illness. While the health benefits of the sun may vary for each person, avoiding the sun may do more harm than good. And don't forget... Use Code SUN25 to boost your summer energy and workouts with L-Arginine!