Michigan winters can be brutal, so there are few things that compare to the feeling of rounding the corner into spring. Days get longer and sunnier, giving us more of an opportunity to get outdoors and active, helping Michiganders’ spirits to perk up in anticipation of one of our state’s most beautiful seasons. This certainly is not coincidental, however, as there are proven benefits that come along with greater exposure to sunlight:
- Your body is getting an essential nutrient: One of the most natural ways to get vitamin D is through safe sun-to-skin exposure of vitamin D, a nutrient with a number of benefits including bone health and a strong immune system. This can even contribute to dental health, as vitamin D can lower the risk of cavities and tooth decay. Be mindful to limit the amount of time your skin is exposed to sunlight to avoid increased risk of diseases like skin cancer. Wearing an SPF 30 sunscreen, which blocks nearly 97 percent of UVB (ultraviolet) radiation, is a good habit to maintain.
- Improved mood: Research has proven that sunlight can be a big mood booster. When exposed to the sun, the body releases a hormone called serotonin that gets us motivated, helps us focus and feel calmer. Low levels of serotonin are a contributor to issues related to seasonal affective disorder – a form of depression closely linked to changes in the seasons (typically around the fall and winter).
- Better sleep: It may seem counterintuitive, but, after exposure to sunlight and serotonin throughout the day, the body kicks its melatonin production into gear when it senses that nighttime is approaching. This, in turn, helps to make your rest even better so you’re feeling refreshed the next day.
Ready to get outdoors and get your daily dose of vitamin D? Michigan is chock full of activities that will allow you to do just that. How about a hike on the DTE Energy Foundation Trail, camping at one of Michigan’s state parks or making it a family affair at one of these kid-friendly attractions across Michigan?