The return of warm rays and blue skies is not just putting a smile on our faces, sending us off into city parks for picnics or days by the beach. Summer sunshine can provide us with considerable health benefits, physically and mentally. The sun's rays assist in regulating nearly all our bodies' processes and prompt us to lead a healthier outdoor life. Here are some reasons why summer is beneficial to your health:
1. We Are More Agile
Loose-fitting summer clothes and the desire to get our bodies into shape to show off swimwear make it far easier to take up an exercise regime. Sunlight creates a feel good factor few gyms can match, sending us running, swimming, cycling, climbing or kayaking with a smile on our face. Even the recommended dose of 20 minutes, three times a week won't wipe that smile off our faces, as long as the sun keeps shining! Exercise allows us to burn off excess calories, but it also enhances the flow of oxygen to our brains, improves our overall concentration and reduces stress levels. Arthritis sufferers also benefit from warm sunshine, as they feel less pain in their joints and are more agile as a result.
2. Relief for Skin Complaints
Moderate exposure to ultraviolet rays of the sun can work wonders for complaints like psoriasis, dermatitis and acne. Eminent British dermatologists confirm that UV rays reduce over-sensitivity in sufferers' immune systems, the cause of many skin complaints. To aid the therapeutic effect of the sun, don't sit in direct sunlight for any length of time - sunburn is instrumental in causing skin cancer. Instead, walk around in daylight, exposing fair skin for no more than 15 minutes of direct sunlight. Then apply protective sun lotion with factor 15 to 30, when going out into the sun.
3. A Reduction of DVT Risk
People at risk of thrombosis and pulmonary embolism benefit greatly from warm climate and sun rays. The warmer climate makes our blood vessels larger which enables blood to circulate more freely, according to medical research.
4. Less Risk of Heart Attacks
Other medical research suggests that we are less likely to have a fatal heart attack in the summer than in winter. The survival rate of victims increased by 19%, if their heart attack occurred during summer, a study of nearly 11,000 British heart attack sufferers revealed over a period of 9 years. Vitamin D is synthesized by the rays of the sun and thus higher levels in our bloodstream can have number of health benefits, such as protecting people who have heart attacks. Cholesterol is converted into Vitamin D by the sun's ultraviolet light, which means going for a walk in the sun lowers our cholesterol levels naturally and decreases the risk of stroke and heart disease. And the benefits of the link between sunshine and Vitamin D don't end there. A lack of Vitamin D, which is essential for the absorption of calcium, is believed to play a role with regard to diseases like osteoporosis and several studies show that breast, colon and ovarian cancers are slowed by patients' exposure to sunlight.
5. We Enjoy Eating More Fruit and Vegetables
Crunchy summer salads, fruit bowls and smoothies: as soon as the temperatures rise we don't mind consuming our five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, because they don't come in the steamed or boiled variety but are presented as yummy smoothies, fruit cocktails or refreshing salads accompanying our BBQ. According to the British Nutrition Foundation, many berries harvested in summer such as strawberries and blackcurrants are simply bursting with vitamin C and contain phytochemicals, whose antioxidant activity aids the prevention of chronic diseases like cancer and boost our immune systems, not to mention help with weight loss due to their low calorie content.
6. We Drink More Water
Drinking water promotes our digestion, regulates our body temperature and improves the health and vitality of our skin. It also flushes toxins out. In summer we tend to not struggle to drink the recommended two liters of water a day for perfect health.
7. Sunshine Reduces Migraine Attacks
Canadian medicos have run trials in which they tested the connection between migraines and weather conditions. Their findings show that clear, dry and sunny days reduce attacks of migraine in sufferers.
8. Beneficial for Sufferers of Sleep Disorders
Early-morning exposure to sunlight can help insomniacs and others suffering from sleep disorders because sunlight helps the body's internal biological clock to "reset" itself. Spend an hour outside in the sun between 7.00 am and 9.00 am each day to tackle your sleep disorder naturally and go to bed in a blacked-out room, which will increase production of the sleep-inducing chemical melatonin.
So it isn’t just the warmer weather and longer days that make us feel good in summer. What are the reasons summer makes you feel good?