NERD ALERT: Importance of Getting Sunshine
Spring has sprung and rainy days are giving way to sunny rays! Here’s how (and when, and why) you should be out there. Hint: there’s a big immunity connection!
Whether at home or out and about, you definitely want to be breathing fresh air as much as possible. This is a proven key to immunity. It goes hand in hand with our topic du jour: sunlight! There’s a lot about the sun that is amazing for health. So let’s break it down.
1. Sweet (Sun) Spot
The best time to catch your rays in terms of health is the late morning to early afternoon (roughly 10AM-1PM) sun. According to science, this sweet little window gives the optimum Vitamin D absorption with minimum risk of developing cancer. Check out #3 on the list for more on Vitamin D, but just a brief refresher: it is exclusively available to us via the sun. That’s why it is notoriously difficult to supplement for, imagine trying to put sunshine in a bottle! Nature’s delivery is best here.
2. Timing is Everything
Just like there’s an ideal time of day to catch some sun, there’s also an ideal amount of time. Anywhere from 10 minutes-3 hours can be appropriate depending on your skin’s melatonin levels. The more pigmentation available, the higher your melanin levels, and the longer you can safely remain exposed to the sun. The lower your melanin, the less pigmentation your skin has, so stick closer to the under an hour timeframe. Healthline gives a great breakdown of estimates for you to check for your ideal window!
3. You are My Sunshine (Vitamin)
Did you know the sun can literally make you happy?! This is true even, as the song goes, when skies are grey. You can actually increase your open air exposure when it is cloudy as the clouds block the UV’s but not completely. So if you have a long walk planned, early in the morning or evening, or anytime when it's cloudy is totally appropriate. Once you’re out getting those rays, your skin and the sun make the magic we call Vitamin D! When used as part of an overall healthy lifestyle that includes whole foods, plenty of exercise, adequate sleep, and proper hydration, you will notice a steady increase in energy, strength and stamina after about 30 days.
4. Save the Best for Last
You get it. The sun is awesome for your body, for your mood, for you in general. But here’s the kicker: a large body of research including this amazing study from Georgetown shows that sunlight energizes T-cells! T-cells are the body’s strongest line of defense against infections because they both identify and help eliminate infections. They are little warriors ready to take on anything that comes their way. I’m thinking this is the best benefit of all, especially right now in the midst of COVID-19.
Remember to get your glow on in a place that is safe for you and your family, such as your yard. Have fun getting that D and all the incredible things that come with it! If there’s a reason to celebrate right now, it’s definitely that nature is on our side as the sun comes out more and more this time of year.
Keep up your collagen and add a dash of fun in the sun! Until next time…