Sunlight health benefits
While many people have ditched the sun in fear of skin cancer and premature aging, it’s important to remember the various health benefits of a little sunshine.
In a study involving 177 countries, scientists found that sunlight can have a big impact on cancer prevention.
“Vitamin D receptors are very robust so most cancer cells still have it and it stops their growth by causing them to stick together. When they stick together they inhibit each others growth. Its actually the first phenomenon discovered in carcinogenesis was that the adherence of one cell to another inhibits the growth of its neighbor and its playing out after 100 years through Vitamin D.” -Dr. Cedric Garland, DrPh, of UC San Diego School of Medicine and Moores Cancer Center
Did you know some sunshine during the morning can help you sleep better at night? This is all part of your body’s circadian rhythm, the 24-hour cycle of your body’s physical and mental changes that respond to light and dark environments. Some sunshine in the morning helps put your body in its daytime phase. To get a solid night of sleep, try matching your light environment to the sun. If the sun is up, your lights should be on, but when it sets, you should dim your lights and avoid blue light.
Regular sun exposure can increase serotonin in the body. Serotonin is sometimes referred to as “the happy chemical” because it has a positive impact on wellbeing and happiness. This is why some people experience seasonal affective disorder (SAD) during the winter when sunlight is scarce. Sun exposure during the summer can help your body stock up on vitamin D to transition into fall with higher serotonin levels.
A recent study at Edinburgh University revealed that UV rays from sunlight can help lower blood pressure. When the skin is exposed to these UV rays, it releases nitric oxide which lowers blood pressure. Safe sun exposure can even protect you from melanoma (yes, you read that right). People who work indoors are more often exposed to UVA light because it can pass through windows. However, this UV exposure can break down vitamin D, resulting in deficiency and increasing the risk of melanoma. On the other hand, people who get chronic sunlight exposure (such as outdoor workers) have higher levels of vitamin D and lower risk of melanoma.
You may find yourself saying, “I live in Michigan. We don’t see the sun for 6 months at a time.” If you’re a fellow Michigander or somewhere where sunlight isn’t so easy to come by, we recommend a good vitamin D3 supplement. Another option is to spend some time in an infrared sauna to experience many of the same health benefits. Don’t have an infrared sauna? We do here at M43 Fitness. Check out some of the benefits here.