The Benefits of Playing in the Sun

Ah, vitamin “sea†can always make me smile! Ok, ok, maybe it’s not “vitamin sea” but vitamin D that we should focus on.. Soaking up the sun is likely to provide some tangible and immediate benefits.

Here are five ways the sun can affect your mental and physical health.

1. Increased Vitamin D

Vitamin D has some important functions in the body. It promotes reduced inflammation and modulates cell growth. The sun is the best natural source of Vitamin D, and it only takes 5-15 minutes of sunlight a few times a week to notice a difference. Get outside and expose yourself to direct sun on your arms and face to soak up this necessary vitamin. Remember to use sunscreen if you’ll be outside for more than 15 minutes.

2. Improved Mood

It turns out a “sunny disposition†is more than just an expression: Researcher has found more mental health distress in people during seasons with little sun exposure. On the contrary, days with plenty of sunshine were associated with better mental health — in fact, the availability of sunshine has more impact on mood than rainfall, temperature, or any other environmental factor.

Getting some sun increases your serotonin and helps you stave off Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and sun exposure can also help people with anxiety and depression, especially in combination with other treatments.

3. Higher Quality Sleep

That serotonin you soak up from the sun’s rays does more than boost your mood – it might also help you get more restful sleep at night. Working in tandem with serotonin is melatonin, a chemical in your brain that lulls you into slumber and one that sun also helps your body produce.

4. Stronger Bones

Remember how Vitamin D does some pretty important stuff for your body? Low Vitamin D has been linked to diseases like osteoporosis and rickets, and one of the most specific benefits of Vitamin D is earning stronger bones and teeth.

5. Lower Blood Pressure

When sunlight hits your skin, your body releases something called nitric oxide into your blood. This compound brings down blood pressure and improves heart health. Maintaining healthy blood pressure can reduce your risks of cardiac disease and stroke. Feelings of relaxation may also naturally bring down blood pressure

A person sitting on the beach with a hat in their hand.


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Dr. Richard Taborga Psy.D., LMHC

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