For years, health professionals, and everyone else, for that matter, have been saying, “Stay out of the sun – it will age your skin and give you cancer.” Now, the tides of opinion are turning toward more sun. Why?
According to an article in Self magazine, sun exposure is now known to help you in a number of ways…
1. Heightened Mood – Serotonin and endorphins raise your “happy” level, and the sun increases these hormones. The Net Net: You’re gonna feel a whole lot better when you get some sun.
2. Sleep, Wonderful Sleep – Higher serotonin levels also means more melatonin, the hormone that helps you sleep. If the the body “knows” it’s daytime, it also knows when to go to sleep. The article suggests, put your sunglasses on after five or so minutes in the sun, for maximum effect.
3. Blood Pressure – Your BP may go down when exposed to the sun, since it produces nitric oxide in the blood, lowering your risks of heart attack and stroke.
4. Cancer Risk Lowered – Yes, prolonged sun exposure can cause skin cancer, but studies also prove, sunlight lowers the risk of various forms of cancer, thanks to vitamin D production.
5. Big bones – Sun begets vitamin D which begets healthier bones, very important as we age, or when women reach menopause.
6. Potential weight loss – Science has actually found some links between sunshine and weight loss. One study showed, the higher your vitamin D levels before starting a weight reduction plan, the likelier you are to succeed, especially with belly fat. Another suggested, older women with sufficient levels of vitamin D are lighter, on average.
Safe, Healthy Sun Exposure
In general, 10 to 20 minutes of sun without sunscreen is a good target – less, if you have very sensitive or light skin. Shorter times, more often, are a better bet than long times once in a while. The app, dminder, can help you get a grip on what’s right for you (yes, there’s an app for that). Also, consider purchasing a light box, often used for seasonal affective disorder.
Worried about wrinkles? Expose your shoulders, arms or anything besides you face and neck. Keep a watch on moles and blemishes.
So in a nutshell, the sun is a friend to your body. Keep that sun coming on!
Watch for our article on kids and the sun, soon.