With warm weather comes swimsuits and tank tops, beaches and outdoor adventures. Excitement and happiness fills the air as the hot summer sun stimulates pent up endorphins, hidden away from cold winter months. However, it’s important to acknowledge the do’s and don’ts of playing safely under the sun’s blazing rays.
Let’s delve into how these little rays of sunshine can impact your health.
What better way to get your direct source of Vitamin D then from our planet’s brightest star – the SUN. Otherwise known as the “Sunshine Vitamin”, Vitamin D is produced naturally in your skin in response to sunlight. Expose your bare skin to some sunshiny rays everyday, to achieve your daily requirement. A supplement, as well as consuming Vitamin D enriched foods like salmon, is beneficial to include in your diet if you’re not getting enough daylight hours.
Vitamin D serves many important physiological functions such as normal development of bones/teeth and facilitating proper immune function, hence, fighting certain diseases. Additionally, it’s been shown to regulate mood and ward off depression – working hand in hand with serotonin, a mood-boosting hormone that is released in the brain when exposed to sunlight.
Whether you’re hiking, biking, swimming or just lounging in your backyard, you need to protect your skin from the ultraviolet radiation in the sun’s rays, as it can pose health risks such as the development of skin cancer, sunburn and sunstroke. Sunscreen is KEY! An SPF of 30 to 60 is best. Ensure that you apply a generous amount onto your skin and re-apply every two hours for optimal protection, as it can wear off from activities throughout the day. For even more protection, stock up on additional SPF products such as lipsticks, daily lotions and other cosmetic products, as well wearing sunglasses with a UV rating to protect your precious peepers.
A little sun-kissed glow is all the rage in the summer months. However, tanning overkill is definitely not worth the negative after effects – skin damage. Whether you’re bronzed like a goddess or burnt like a tomato; neither is favourable for the largest organ in your body. Over exposure may cause premature aging (a.k.a. wrinkles and age spots!) and a higher risk of precancerous growths and skin cancer. Protect your delicate epidermis by staying out of direct sun (for long periods of time) during peak hours between 10:00am to 2:00pm; this is when UV rays are the strongest. Be mindful when enjoying outdoors activities – seek shade where you can and wear thin, light colored garments that cover most of your skin for the best defense against harmful UV radiation.
TIP: Check your skin regularly for moles and marks that could be suggestive of skin cancer; be cognizant of any new and/or changes in skin pigmentation. Keep your doctor apprised of any concerns.
Drinking fluids, ideally Mother Nature’s purest source WATER, is the best bet to replenishing your skin – inside, out. Aim to drink your daily requirements of 6-8 cups a day – more, if you’re active. The hotter the weather, the more dehydrated you may become. Be mindful of your body’s needs and how much activity you’re participating in throughout the day. If you’re feeling thirsty, tired, irritable, experiencing headaches, dizziness, fainting, flushed skin, dry lips and/or mouth – you’re DEHYDRATED. Drink up, as much as you can, so you can actively enjoy the hot, summer sun with family and friends!
With a few of these healthful tidbits of information to shine a light on how to get the most out of the sun’s rays, its also important to recognize and appreciate Mother Nature is always boss.
Get your daily sunshine fix – guard your skin, top up your fluids and SOAK UP THE SUN!