Tag Archives: Seasonal affective disorder

Take advantage of the sun while you can!

30 Sep
Autumn Landscape

Autumn Landscape (Photo credit: blmiers2)

At this time of the year, the days just keep getting shorter.  Our moments in the sun are becoming fewer.  This is all the more reason to get out there and enjoy it while we can.

Exposure to the sun has several benefits.  One important benefit is the suns ability to enhance our mood or feeling of well being.  Many people are affected by SAD or seasonal affective disorder.  People with SAD basically become less happy as their time in the sun is reduced – usually due to the shorter days we experience during the winter months.

Another benefit of the sun is that it helps our bodies make vitamin D.  Vitamin D is important for bone health and is found infrequently in foods.  Even a few minutes of sun exposure to your skin and eyes daily can make a big difference.  Sun screen does reduce the suns effect on vitamin D production.  A few minutes of exposure per day is all you need without sun screen but with sun screen you will need a little more time outside.

A third benefit of the sun is reduction of circadian rhythm sleep disorders.  If you’re having difficulty sleeping at night, enjoying some sunlight early in the day may help reset your body’s internal clock.

There are many ways to spend time outside.  We can go for a walk at any time of the year.  Sometimes it gets difficult to go for a walk in the sunlight as winter closes in and we find ourselves leaving for work in the dark and returning home in the dark.  One possible solution is to make use of your lunch break.  You may even be able to find a co-worker who would like to join you.

It may not always be possible to get your sun fix during the work week so consider getting active outdoors on your days off.  Try a Saturday morning hike.  Get out there and enjoy the beautiful fall colors!

Plan outdoor activities with friends.  It’s the perfect time of year for a game of touch football, and it’s not too late for golf.

Once we have snow on the ground you could go cross country skiing.  There are trails in various places throughout Manitoba.  BeaudryPark near Headingly has groomed trails and warm up shacks.  For a complete listing of Manitoba ski areas go to: http://www.gov.mb.ca/conservation/parks/recreation/ski_trail.html

Go for a bike ride, take your kids to the park, rake the leaves or walk to the mailbox.  The list of possibilities is endless.

Do take care though.  Do not allow your skin to burn.  Any benefit you may gain from the sun is undermined by the risk of skin cancer if you allow yourself to burn.  Even a minor sunburn is not a good idea.  If you’re going to be outside for a prolonged period of time make sure to apply sun screen with an SPF of 15 or higher.

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