6 Surprising Benefits of Spending More Time in the Sunshine

Though the sun sometimes gets a bad rep for prematurely aging our skin and causing skin cancer, there are actually some big benefits to spending time (safely) in the sun. Here’s a list of some of the major ones that hopefully will inspire you to take a stroll outside. Before you head out the door, remember that when it comes to sun exposure, moderation is key and a quality SPF product is your best friend. (Get more need-to-know advice on SPF here.)

Sun gives your an immune system a boost

Skin reacts to the sun’s ultraviolet-B radiation by creating vitamin D, which the immune system needs a good amount of to function properly. Next time you feel the onset of a cold, head to the nearest sun patch and soak up the vitamin D.

Sun provides the same effects of a workout

Okay, maybe not the full effect of a workout, but like a good sweat sesh, the sun increases the oxygen content in our blood. On a sunny day, the body has a higher capacity to deliver that oxygen to the tissues, similar to what takes place during a cardio session. Translation: No more guilt trip on the pool-side chaise lounge when you’re supposed to be at spin class.

Sun gives you glowy skin

A little bit of sun does wonders for the complexion and has also been linked to improving certain skin conditions, like acne and eczema. The research is so compelling that spas are more commonly offering UV radiation services for the darker winter months, when getting a dose of sunlight isn’t always guaranteed.

Sun helps you sleep better

Catching some rays during the day keeps your circadian rhythm on schedule. Sun increases serotonin, which is responsible for how we fall asleep and sleep throughout the night. Even a well-timed stroll in the sun during a lunch break will provide that serotonin boost that can make the night less restless and the next day more refreshing.

Sun reduces certain health risks

People with higher exposure to the sun’s rays tend to recover from serious health problems, even certain types of cancer, at higher rates than those with a low exposure. The sun also plays a role in bone health and helps reduce the chances of bone-related diseases.

Sun gives you positive mood swings

The sun has the ability to inspire calm and focus through the release of certain hormones and their effects on the body. Spending a day in the sunshine might be all that’s needed to turn around a below-average day. Do your mental state a favor and show a little skin each day when the sun comes out.

Amy Hillock is a freelance writer and an executive producer at production company ASSEMBLY9 in New York City. She enjoys leading workplace wellness yoga in offices around Manhattan through YogaWithAim, and spending recklessly on travel plans, green juice and new Nikes. Follow her (mostly) healthy pursuits on Instagram and Twitter.