I finally got outside yesterday. Our poor landscaping has been under inches of snow all winter and looks like it needed some love. A few days previous I noticed that the weeds were abundant so I decided it was time to get after it. It didn’t really matter what I did in the yard, the task is endless. While I was out I contemplated my favorite thing that day. It wasn’t too windy. It wasn’t too hot. The birds were chirping- it’s been a long time since I paid attention to that.
Then I got excited! It’d been so long since I was out in te sun! I remembered how good it feels to have the sun on my skin. Has winter been that long? How could I forget this?I have alway been so careful to shield myself from the sun. I always heard how bad the sun is for you, that is causes skin cancer, you will get wrinkles (egads!) and so on and so on. In my early 20s, I of course disregarded that nonsense but after some time I became religious about slathering on the sunscreen and always sat in the shade. A good line of defense to be sure, but as it turns out, a little bit of sun exposure is really good for you.
With some sunlight we can enjoy:
- Increase in Vitamin D levels- don’t forget this is a fat soluble vitamin so we need to eat fat in our diet.
- Lower Blood Pressure due to an increase in nitric oxide productionwhich will reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke.
- Improve sleep – morning exposure gets your circadian rhythm on track.
- Elevate Mood– sunlight therapy is used to treat Seasonal Affective Disorder, but you don’t have to suffer from SAD to reap the benefits
- Other lesser known benefits include: pain relief, treatment for skin diseases, & regulating body temperature
The takeaway here is to make sure you get back outside but be smart about it. Indirect sunlight is okay! In fact it’s probably the preferred way for a lot of people. Some people can only be outside for 10 minutes before their skin starts to get damaged. If your pink, you’ve been out too long. Take your sun exposure in increments. If your skin can handle a bit more, go for it! For more specific recommendations on sun exposure, this Dr. Mercola article is a good resource.
I’m pretty sure I will be singing a different tune once the Summer gets here, but I will try to remember this feeling.