People tend to associate sunbathing with skin cancer but the Sun has countless other beneficial effects on our health. From stronger bones and muscles to uplifting our mood, moderate exposure to Sun’s rays is truly a bright spot for overall human health.
A strong musculature
Strangely enough, scientists have discovered that people with skin cancer, a byproduct of overexposure to the sun, have a lower risk of bone fractures. The reason behind this odd result is Vitamin D that helps bones absorb calcium, strengthening our musculature in the process. Speaking of muscles, vitamin D reduces joint pain and muscle cramps as well.
Vital vitamin D
Apart from healthy bones and muscles, vitamin D is also good for normal brain function. In order to generate this vital vitamin, our body needs exposure to sunlight; at least an hour a week (the whole body should be exposed).
Admittedly, some foods, such as milk and salmon, do contain vitamin D but in small quantities, barely enough for adults. Children definitely need extra sunlight, if that means applying sunscreen for small children when on the seaside.
Strong at heart
Since many heart conditions are hereditary, you need all the protection you can get because beating genetics is hard. As with bones and muscles, the more you are exposed to sunlight, the lesser are the chances of developing cardiovascular disease. More studies are needed in this area but in general, sunbathing should protect you against a heart attack.
Dealing with high blood pressure
Speaking of a heart attack, you can suffer one because of raised blood pressure. However, people dial 911 more in winter than in summer, suggesting that sunlight is connected with keeping strokes due to high blood pressure at bay.
Too much sun is bad for your health
Every single benefit of sunlight listed here is related to moderate sun exposure. If you stay in the sun too long, you can get sunburnt or even worse, you risk getting skin cancer. This is not so much dangerous on a beach where there are umbrellas reminding you to take cover but the real dangers lurk near your home. Overstaying on an open patio can easily end in a heatstroke. Installing an alfresco roof allows you to spend more time outside in summer without the risk of sunstroke.
A stronger immune system and healthier digestion
Vitamin D has one more trick up its sleeve. Namely, it is responsible for regulating inflammation inside the body, meaning that’s an integral part of our immune system. Furthermore, people who live in sunny regions of the world are less likely to suffer from ulcerative colitis, so their digestive health is improved thanks to constant exposure to the sun’s rays.
Better sleep patterns
If you are familiar with the term circadian rhythm, then you know that darkness is nature’s way of telling our body to rest overnight. Just like melatonin makes us sleepy after it receives info from the eyes that it’s dark outside, so does the same hormone wake us up in the morning.
And how does our body know that it has dawned outside? Yes, because the Sun rises in the East, ushering in a new day. If your circadian rhythm is in order, you should feel alert the moment you wake up, regardless of your age.
How sunlight affects our eyes?
Dark glasses are cool as heck but they serve a much more important purpose. Namely, strong light can blind us in a second, which is exactly what happens when you look directly at the Sun during a bright summer day.
On a cloudy day, looking up is not as nearly as dangerous, so sunlight isn’t our vision’s friend, or is it so? If you are smart enough not to look directly at the sun, you can count on a 25% less chance of developing myopia when you reach middle age.
A real mood lifter
Finally, sunlight is responsible for releasing a chemical in our brain called serotonin or “the happiness hormone”. Simply leaving the house and imbibing sunlight is beneficial for our mental health, preventing the aforementioned anxiety and depression early on. The Sun is as soothing in summer as in winter, because you don’t need strong UV rays to experience happiness.
Sunlight is what keeps us alive and we shouldn’t shy away from it. However, sun exposure should be limited and moderate in order to achieve the best results possible in terms of health.