Thursday, November 10, 2011

Step Outside

Last weekend was amazing. Ask me why

Was it because I spent it visiting with old friends?  Eating delicious meals?  Dancing the night away?  Those all helped, for sure, but what made this weekend so different from others was that I spent it outdoors. 

Of course, we all lounge on the beach in the summer season, but how often do we spend time outside after Labor Day?  The temperature dips below 75, and suddenly we confine ourselves to our warm homes and offices.  The sun still shines throughout the fall, people; let’s take advantage!  Frolic on the grass, sit on the porch, eat on the café’s sidewalk.  All you have to do is dress warmly and you’ll be alright.  Just because it's getting chilly is no excuse to stay inside.  It’s surprising how much you warm up while basking in the sunlight; you’ll be peeling off those layers in no time! 

Scientific reasons to love the sun:
  • All the benefits of Vitamin D, from bone formation to increased immunity and disease prevention.
  • Better sleep due to melatonin regulation. In darkness, your body produces the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin.  In sunlight, though, melatonin production is inhibited in favor of seratonin production.  Yep—that’s the “happy hormone”!  Definitely a good thing.
  • That, of course, means sunlight can elevate your mood
Normal people reasons to love the sun:
  • Suntan.  Sure, this mostly applies to summertime, and comes with risks  (don’t forget sunscreen!), but a healthy sun-kissed glow could give your look a lift for a day or two
  • Energy.  I don’t know about you, but I wake up a lot faster when someone opens the blinds than when I turn off my alarm in the dark and go back to sleep.  This is related to the hormones mentioned above. Natural changes in light and dark is how our bodies learn when to be awake and when to sleep in the first place, so take advantage of it.  When you’re hitting a wall at work, skip the coffee break and go for a walk around the block instead.  You’ll get the awakening benefits of sunlight, movement, and fresh air all in one!  Win!
  • Warmth.  They don’t call it “sunbathing” for nothing.  It’s like slipping into a hot tub, or like putting on pajamas straight out of the dryer.  Mmmm didn’t that just give you chills?  Or warm your heart?  Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference.  Either way, it’s an awesome feeling.  Put on your PJs at night.  During the day, go say hi to the sun

So… what are you still doing at your computer?  Get up and spend even 20 minutes outside to reap the benefits.  Today, tomorrow, all weekend long, go feel the warmth of the sun, smell the crisp air, and come back inside completely rejuvenated!  I did it, so can you.  I dare you!

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