And Now for a bit of Sun

Over the last several days we’ve gotten a break from the standard cloudy overhead and frequent showers. Sunshine has finally been pushing through, the skies are mostly blue, and it’s been warm enough to spend time outside for the mere sake of enjoying the weather. Finally springtime is actually starting to look and feel the part.

Don’t get me wrong, I can certainly appreciate the fact that the Eugene area is so well hydrated. While it can seemingly take nature forever to catch on that it’s time to let the sunny days have their turn, the nice thing is that the wet and dreary fall, winter, and part of spring serves to make this one of the most fertile regions you’re likely to find. All year-round it’s green. Whether it’s the middle of July or December, there’s hardly ever a leafless tree or shrub to see. What few seasonal plants you may find here are all but invisible amidst the backdrop of virtually constant bloom. To be honest, when I first visited NCU, this is one of the things that struck me the most about this area. Where I’m from, the winters are noticeably colder, and consequently more barren. The summers are hotter, sometimes too much for a lot of the landscape. The nice thing about this is all the seasons are distinctly different from each other. They have their own personalities, if you will. The nice thing about here though, is that while all the seasons tend to blend together a bit more, the land is always very much alive, which can be uplifting even when the skies are murky.

However, the seasons don’t completely blend together. When the Sun finally appears for consecutive days it’s a striking, and very welcome change. In light of that (no pun intended) here’s some interesting facts about the sunny weather and that wonderful celestial body that globally warms us (that pun was intended).

Generally speaking, our sense of smell can improve during the springtime as a result of an increased amount of moisture in the air. To be honest I’m not sure if this is true to this part of Oregon, considering how much moisture is in the air at all times of the year, but it’s fascinating nonetheless.

In a study, people who showed depressive symptoms were divided into two groups. One group was told to spend more time in the sun, the other group told to make visits to a doctor. After seven weeks, the group who spent more time in the sun showed fewer symptoms of depression, which was attributed to the sun’s ability to improve vitamin D levels in the body.

Sunlight exposure leads to increases in the body’s production of white blood cells, which strengthens the immune system.

Children have been shown to grow more rapidly during the springtime than any other time of the year, and babies who received sun exposure during their early months tend to grow faster and taller than those who don’t.

Sunblock is typically viewed as a must-have on a sunny day, but while it may keep you from getting a sunburn, it actually has it’s fair share of drawbacks. There are ingredients in sunscreen that (ironically) have been linked to cancer. Sunscreen also has ingredients that cause skin to age prematurely, and while it may keep you from getting too much sun, wearing it also prevents you from receiving any of the many benefits sunlight has to offer. Of course, protecting yourself from excessive sun exposure is still important. Look up healthier alternatives that can do the trick without a bunch of unwanted toxic chemicals.

While sun rays often get a bad rap (ultraviolet light, skin cancer, etc.), these negative effects are the result of too much sun exposure. Ultraviolet light is actually only one of eight types of light the sun produces, all of which have unique health-promoting features.

Sunlight promotes bone health, is anti-cancerous, strengthens teeth, helps fight dementia and brain aging, decreases asthmatic symptoms, and promotes fat loss.

Researching for this article, I already knew the Sun was good for us, but I was surprised to discover it was beneficial in so many ways. Trust me, I’m just scratching the surface here. I could have included all the positives I found, and elaborated on the ones I included here. However if that were the case, you’d be reading a book right now instead of a blog post, and I’m not quite so arrogant as to think you want to read that much of me.

By the time I post this, the clouds may very well have rolled back in and ten foot sections of sidewalk may be flooded, you can never tell with Spring around here. If not, then don’t let me take up any more of your time. Shut that laptop (or take it with you) and got outside for a bit!

 

Sources:

randomhistory.com: “43 Stirring Facts about Spring”

webmd.com: “Unraveling the Sun’s Role in Depression”

mindbodygreen.com: “10 Healing Benefits of the Sun”

metoffice.gov.uk: “10 bizarre facts you probably didn’t know about spring”

huffingtonpost.com: “Sunshine & Happiness Study Links Time Outdoors To Improved Mood”

 

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