There is a difference we feel when it has been a bit dark and rainy and then all of a sudden, the sun peeks out and spreads its rays across the sky. We are all affected in some way or another by the sunshine. Being in the sun generally makes people feel good, and there are many scientific reasons for this effect.
One of these is that exposure to UVB rays causes human skin to produce beta-endorphins, which are hormones that reduce pain. Their other benefits include:
promoting a sensation of well-being and improving mood
boosting the immune system
helping wounds heal
helping people feel more alert
increasing job satisfaction when a person’s workplace has access to sunlight
In fact, there is a significant benefit that we get from sunlight, which initiates the production of Vitamin D in the body.
People can get vitamin D from their diet and supplements, but sunlight is an important source of this essential nutrient. Vitamin D is necessary for key biological processes to take place in the body. Its benefits include:
supporting healthy bones
managing calcium levels
supporting the immune system and glucose metabolism
Studies have shown that midday sun exposure is actually the best for helping the body produce Vitamin D, which is made from cholesterol. (Hey, this writer isn’t a scientist. That’s actually what the articles say…)
While getting our daily dose of sunlight is great, there are some issues that we need to consider. We all have varying skin shades depending on how much melanin we have.
Melanin is a substance in your body that produces hair, eye and skin pigmentation. The more melanin you produce, the darker your eyes, hair and skin will be. The amount of melanin in your body depends on a few different factors, including genetics and how much sun exposure your ancestral population had.
That means that lighter skinned individuals need a shorter time in the sun than darker skinned individuals for the good chemical processes to occur. Unfortunately, this is also means that lighter skinned individuals are more likely to have a quicker negative reaction to longer sun exposure compared to darker skinned individuals.
While sunlight is great for vitamin D production, too much can be dangerous.
Below are some consequences of too much sunlight:
Sunburns: The most common harmful effect of too much sunlight. Symptoms of a sunburn include redness, swelling, pain or tenderness and blisters
Eye damage: Long-term exposure to UV light can damage the retina. This can increase the risk of eye diseases like cataracts
Aging skin: Spending too long in the sun can cause your skin to age faster. Some people develop more wrinkled, loose or leathery skin
Skin changes: Freckles, moles and other skin changes can be a side effect of excess sunlight exposure
Heat stroke: Also known as a sunstroke, this is a condition in which the body’s core temperature may rise due to too much heat or sun exposure
Skin cancer: Too much UV light is a major cause of skin cancers
Did you know that the skin is one of the biggest organs in the human body? Some people don’t even bother with sunscreen, which can really help curb the harmful effects of too much sun exposure.
What is the takeaway? Enjoy the sun and be glad when it’s a sunny day. Midday is the best time for the sun’s rays to help your Vitamin D production, but only for 10-30 minutes. Pay attention to your own type of skin and take necessary measures to protect it.
This way, we stay well for longer...
And make it to Pilates at Elevate.