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10 Positive Health Effects of Sunlight

Girl starring at a sunrise there anything quite like it?? We don't think so, which is why you'll find us iGniting (working out together) outside any and every chance we can! Sadly however, our world has become dominated by indoor activities and the reliance on artificial lighting. We're seeing a rise in disease, depression and sleep disorders, and I believe it's all connected. Excitingly though, what was true from the beginning of time remains to be true today, which is: exposure to sunlight is not merely a pleasant sensation but a vital component of overall well-being. From bolstering mental health to fortifying our bones, the health benefits of sunlight are extensive and profound.

Positive Health Effects of Sunlight

On the fourth day, God created the sun, the moon and the stars. On the sixth day, God created land animals and humans. Just think about how perfectly planned that was...and that God created the sun to provide light and warmth... all the while knowing, a fully functioning and healthy body, mind and spirit needs sunlight too. From helping prevent cancer to helping with weight loss, the transformative health effects of sunlight are impressive! In this blog post, we'll explore the myriad ways in which sunlight plays a crucial role in maintaining a healthy, happy and vibrant life.

1. Helps Fight Depression

woman meditation outside in the sunlight

Sunlight exposure stimulates the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that contributes to feelings of happiness and well-being. Low levels of serotonin have been linked to depression, while increasing serotonin levels can help alleviate depressive symptoms. Sunlight exposure triggers the release of serotonin in the brain, which can improve mood and overall mental health.

2. Cancer Prevention

Sunlight exposure has been associated with a reduced risk of certain cancers, including colorectal, breast, prostate, and skin cancers. Vitamin D produced in the skin in response to sunlight exposure may have protective effects against cancer by regulating cell growth, apoptosis (cell death), and immune function.

3. Increase Vitamin D Production

a woman exercising with the sun behind her

Sunlight exposure triggers the skin to produce vitamin D, which plays a crucial role in mood regulation. Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to depression and other mood disorders. Thus, sunlight exposure can help maintain optimal levels of this vitamin, potentially alleviating depressive symptoms.

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Woman smiling after exercise and in the sun

4. Boosts Immunity

Sunlight exposure can stimulate the production of certain immune cells and enhance immune function. A robust immune system is vital for detecting and destroying cancerous cells before they develop into tumors or metastasize to other parts of the body. By bolstering the immune response, sunlight exposure may help the body's natural defenses in fighting cancer.

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5. Helps Boost Mood, Memory & Focus

Sunlight exposure has been shown to have a direct positive effect on mood. The bright light stimulates the brain to release neurotransmitters such as serotonin and endorphins, which are associated with feelings of happiness and relaxation. Adequate exposure to sunlight during the day can suppress melatonin production, leading to increased alertness and improved mood during waking hours.

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6. Aids in Healing Some Skin Conditions

Moderate sunlight exposure can have benefits for skin health. Sunlight exposure can help treat certain skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, and vitiligo. Additionally, sunlight exposure stimulates the production of vitamin D, which contributes to skin cell growth and repair.Sunlight exposure can help alleviate itching associated with various skin conditions, including eczema, psoriasis, and pruritus of unknown origin. Sunlight triggers the release of endorphins, which are natural pain-relieving and mood-enhancing chemicals, providing temporary relief from itching and discomfort.

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7. Helps to Lower Blood Pressure

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Exposure to natural light helps regulate the body's internal clock, known as the circadian rhythm. Disruptions in circadian rhythms, such as irregular sleep patterns, have been associated with hypertension. By maintaining a regular sleep-wake cycle through exposure to sunlight during the day and darkness at night, the body may better regulate blood pressure. Sunlight exposure has been linked to improved mood and reduced stress levels. Chronic stress can contribute to hypertension by increasing levels of stress hormones such as cortisol, which can elevate blood pressure. Spending time outdoors in sunlight and engaging in relaxing activities may help lower stress levels and, consequently, blood pressure.

8. Helps Strengthen Bones

a woman exercising with the sun shining behind her

When the skin is exposed to sunlight, it produces vitamin D through the action of UVB radiation on a cholesterol derivative in the skin. Vitamin D is crucial for maintaining calcium and phosphorus levels in the blood, which are essential for bone health. Adequate levels of vitamin D help the body absorb calcium from the diet, facilitating the mineralization of bones and teeth. Without enough vitamin D, bones can become thin, brittle, and prone to fractures.

9. Improves Sleep

two women riding bikes together with the sun shining behind them

Exposure to sunlight during the day helps regulate the production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep-wake cycles. Balanced melatonin levels are essential for maintaining a healthy sleep-wake cycle, which in turn can have a positive impact on mood and mental well-being.

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10. Helps With Weight Loss

women working out together outside

Sunlight exposure encourages outdoor activities and physical exercise, which are beneficial for overall cardiovascular health. Regular exercise helps lower blood pressure by strengthening the heart, improving blood vessel function, and reducing stress. Sunlight exposure may thus indirectly contribute to lower blood pressure by promoting physical activity.

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