Sun is the main source of the earth's energy. Without the sun, we would have no life.
The sun benefits us in many ways, some in ways you may not think about. Here are three ways we benefit from the sun.
1. Eat More Plants
We see a great example of how the sun provides life when we think of a garden. Plants grow effectively when they get adequate water and sun. Plants are incredibly efficient at utilizing the sun's rays and are able to convert the energy from the sun into organic compounds and sugars. When we, as humans, consume plants, we are able to convert these sugars into energy. So firstly, we benefit from the sun through our consumption of healthy fruits, vegetables and other plant-based foods.
2. Vitamin D Production
While overexposure to the sun's UV rays can be harmful (as evidenced in a painful sunburn), the sun also provides an important vitamin in our body, Vitamin D. In fact, the sun's rays are our primary source of Vitamin D. How can the sun give us vitamins? While the sun doesn't inherently have a vitamin that it mysteriously gives to us, the sun does stimulate function in and through our skin that tells our body to produce Vitamin D. A few minute a day of sun exposure greatly increases our Vitamin D production.
What does Vitamin D do for our body?
It helps maintain the health of bones and teeth, supports the immune, brain and nervous systems, can regulate insulin production, supports lung function, heart health, and even influences the progression of the genes that can allow cancer to develop.
In short, the sun stimulates important and vital reactions in the body that help keep us strong and healthy.
3. It Makes Us Happy
The sun's rays also help regulate the hormones serotonin (the happy hormone) and melatonin. Surprisingly, melatonin plays a large role in everyday body rhythm.
Sunlight and darkness trigger the release of hormones in your brain. Exposure to sunlight is thought to increase the brain’s release of a hormone called serotonin. Serotonin is associated with boosting your mood and helping a person feel calm and focused. At night, darker lighting cues trigger the brain to make another hormone called melatonin. This hormone is responsible for helping a person feel sleepy and go to sleep.
Without enough sunlight exposure, your serotonin levels can dip low. Low levels of serotonin are associated with a higher risk of seasonal affective disorder (SAD). SAD is a form of depression that is triggered by changing seasons.
Bottom line? Get some sun!
Sunlight is a very helpful tool to add to your fitness plan. It helps us from the inside out. If you can incorporate outdoor exercise, like a brisk walk into your fitness routine, you'll experience many more benefits. Get some sun and keep shining!