A Healthy Summer: 5 Benefits of Sun Exposure

The sun’s rays are heaven’s arrows to earth that bring forth an array of either destruction, or relaxing mitigation. The damaging elements of the sun’s rays are one to take account for but we can’t forget the benefits!

We’ve all heard it before… the sun’s capability of all things toxic, including skin cancer and second-degree burns. But we don’t hear much about the positive effects of the sun. Sure we all enjoy getting that nice sun kissed glow during our spring break vacation, but these benefits are cosmetic, feeding our ego more than anything.

Medio tutissimus ibis, or “you will go safest by the middle course”, is another saying for, “all things are best in moderation”. Coincidentally this phrase can be applied to humans’ relationship to the sun! Go figure! It turns out our big red pal provides us with a sundry of benefits (pun intended), all of which can be fostered with only a half hour of sunlight about 3 times a week. So, IN MODERATION is the key here. That means for those of you that sun bathe for hours a day, you might want to cut back on the flipping and flopping.

With moderation as the forefront of our sunning intentions we can now take a look at these 5 benefits for getting the most out of the summer sun! (Or any high noon sunlight for that matter)

1.    The sun’s light kills bacteria. Surprisingly enough, sunlight does kill bacteria! This is actually a common method of sanitizing the air. Examples of this method can be seen at select public locations. Businesses occasionally have sanitizing UV lights put at their entryways to clear away a percentage of bacterial flora found lurking on clothing and skin. So get out there and zap those critters off your skin! Get cho’ own home bacteria!

2.    Sunlight reduces your blood pressure. The University of Edinburgh has found that sunlight exposure releases a compound called Nitric Oxide that reduces blood pressure in the circulatory system. Richard Weller, in his TED talk, explains a study involving UVA rays and mice (as opposed to UVB rays which produce Vitamin D) and their observed decrease in blood pressure across a population. You can watch the TED talk here! Now, Take a deep breath, and absorb those tube-stretching rays!

3.    Sun exposure reduces cancer risk. It all goes back to that good ol’ saying, “keep things in moderation”. According to Rachel Nall, RN and contributing writer for Health Line,  “populations that live in locations with more daylight tend to have a reduced cancer rate.” It turns out cancers that have been reported to diminish with sun exposure include: “colon cancer, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, ovarian cancer, pancreatic cancer, and prostate cancer” (Health Line) well what do you know? Now we all have an excuse to move to the coast…

4.  The sun strengthens your bones. The sun is… good to the bone (duh-nuh-nuh-nuh)… According to the NationalOsteoporosis Foundation, The sun works to stimulate the absorption of calcium into the body by way of Vitamin D production! It turns out our bodies’ need for Vitamin D is crucial, especially when it comes to our calcium levels. Calcium is dependent on Vitamin D to move it along! So get your motor running and head out on that sun soaked highway.

5. Sunlight improves your sleep quality. In our recent blog, “Mastering Your Sleep: 5 Tips to Increase Your Sleep Quality” we mentioned that cell phones produce a light similar to that of the sun’s which inhibits melatonin’s release (the hormone responsible for the sleep/wake cycle). Well, this can be used to our advantage! According to Life Hack Expert, David K. William, The more sunlight you get the more time your body will have to stockpile it’s melatonin production! So soak up the sun and dive head deep into those twilight hours. Ah… sunlight never felt so relaxing!

With a scorching summer in our forecast we have to remember to be safe in the sun, but being safe doesn’t mean hiding indoors while others run, laugh, and frolic outside. You can have fun too! Just be sure to use your sunscreen for prolonged exposure AND always remember these 5 benefits! If not these 5 benefits, most of all remember the saying, “Medio tutissimus ibis”, and you will be safest by the middle course.

Content provided by Andrew Rattay

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