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Why You Should Get Out in the Sun for the Sake of Your Health (and Five Ways to Do It)

By Susan Melony | Mental Health

Mar 14
Girl in the sun

If you consider yourself to be somewhat of a shut-in or recluse, you’re certainly not alone; however, bear in mind that your insistence on staying indoors could be having a negative impact on your long-term health.

For starters, consider some of the dangers of not getting enough sun on a day-to-day basis, including:

  • Vitamin D deficiency, which comes with its own slew of health problems including links to heart disease and diabetes
  • Decreased mood and depression: as humans, we crave natural sunlight and likewise our moods benefit from exposure to the sun
  • Not spending enough time outdoors, which is a surefire sign of a sedentary lifestyle; likewise, the sun offers exposure to nitric oxide which helps regulate your metabolism and weight

You’re probably tired of hearing the phrase “get out more,” but it may be exactly what you need if you’re feeling down in the dumps or not quite your normal self.

Perhaps you’re sensitive to the sun or simply don’t have a concrete reason to get out in the sun in the first place. Fear not: there are some smart ways to get more sun that simply represent small changes to your daily routine. In fact, some of these tips can apply to you within the comfort of your own home.

So, where do you start when it comes to re-introducing yourself to regular sunlight?

Let the Light In

Perhaps the easiest way to get more exposure to sunlight is by letting it into your home. Smart shading solutions such as motorized blinds easily let you manage how much light is allowed into your space. Try to let natural light replace light bulbs during the daylight hours, for example, which can both brighten your home and immediately improve your mood.

Get Exposure in Small Doses

Despite popular belief, “getting sun” doesn’t necessarily mean baking out on the beach all day. In fact, fifteen to thirty minutes a day is enough time in the sun to make a significant impact on your health. In other words, taking part in brief outdoor activities such as mowing the lawn or tending to your garden can likely take care of your daily dose of sunlight.

Leave the House Every Day

Likewise, you should strive to leave the house every day: this represents a win-win for both your mental health and the ability for you to take in more sun.

Whether this means going on a daily jog, taking your lunch outside or relying on your bike versus constantly taking your car, the combination of small outings throughout will keep you comfortable and mentally content.

Avoid the Harshest Rays

The easiest way to burn yourself out from the sun, quite literally, is by spending time exposed to the harshest hours of sunlight. If possible, try to avoid any strenuous outdoor activity around noon where the sun is at its peak. Attempting to drag yourself outside when it’s scorching will do nothing but deter you from wanting to spend time in the sun for the long-run.

Take the Time to Protect Yourself

For the most part, the time we spend exposed to the sun should be without sunblock; however, that doesn’t mean you should ignore protecting yourself. If you burn easily, there’s nothing wrong with wearing a protective layer of sunblock or clothing; likewise, dress down if you know you’ll be doing exercise or taking part in strenuous activity. Finally, plan on bringing a bottle of water with you to keep hydrated if you’re not used to spending hours outdoors.

Getting out in the sun doesn’t have to be a headache. Consider the small steps you can take today to get out in the sun for the sake of your long-term health: you’ll thank yourself down the road.

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