Goodbye Snow and Hello Sunshine

Source: Pottery Barn

Source: Pottery Barn

Maddie Cognasso, Writer / Copy Editor

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After a whirlwind of rare winter weather here in Olympia, spring is finally coming. We can put away the snow gear and take our sunglasses out from hibernation. For a vast majority of Olympians, rain is a norm, however, Vitamin D from the sun is vital. Regardless of the temperature outside, healthy sun exposure during any season is important for health and wellness.

When you let the sunshine in, there are proven health benefits. However, being in the sunshine’s presence requires a bit of control in order to avoid potential risks such as burning. There is quite a difference between taking a break in the sun vs. baking in the sunshine. We’re talking minutes, not hours. Despite living in a state that gets constant rain, on average, there are 136 sunny days per year in Olympia. Therefore, on those sunny days, take advantage of the Vitamin D and go out and smell the roses.

According to Dr. Michael Roizen, Chief Wellness Officer at Cleveland Clinic, Ohio, says, “The sun works through a number of receptors in the brain to affect our mental status and alertness”. Mood can be elevated with the incorporation and inclusion of the sunshine we can get here in the Pacific in Northwest.  Sun exposure boosts the serotonin levels in the body which is known as the ‘happiness hormone’. An increase in serotonin can make us calm, alert, and happier.

In addition to improving mood, responsible sun exposure can benefit our bones. According to Clifford Rosen, M.D., an osteo­porosis researcher at the Maine Medical Center Research Institute in Scarborough, he says that Vitamin D, “is absolutely essential to promote absorption of calcium, the mineral that helps keep bones strong,”.

Suggested by Consumer Reports, sunlight may play other roles in promoting good health as well. The research is ongoing, but so far studies suggest that UV exposure might lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of obesity and possibly certain auto­immune diseases.

Overall, it is important to catch some sun rays as spring and sunshine is upon us. Capital spring sports have began which means you can catch a baseball, fastpitch, or soccer game outside. You can even watch our track stars as they compete too. However, don’t forget your sunscreen when outside for an extended period of time. Now go get out there and catch some sun!