Soaking up the sun

sun vegas

Enjoying the warm sun in Las Vegas last month.

Last week I was walking up to one of my classes where students were waiting for the previous class to get finished so we could practice yoga.

One student looked at me and said something to the effect that I looked happy and smiling.

I said, it’s the sun!

We are transitioning into Spring.

Last week and this week we have had many days where Portland has been warm and sunny.

Last week I was waiting at the bus stop. It was warm. Lots of people were out and about. People were smiling, looked happy. One woman even cheered.

Yes, the people in Portland are happy for the weather change.

I thought the Winter was manageable. Not always fun or enjoyable with a few days of snow, many days of endless rain and gray skies.

With my teaching schedule I get out of the house regularly and exercise regularly as well.

But I do know that I thrive with the sun and warmer weather. I’m a true Arizona girl.

Since moving to Oregon a little more than a year ago I realized the best time to travel out of state is during the cold, gray, wet Winter to warmer places, such as Tucson and Las Vegas–places I will always regularly visit.

Summers, I’ll be here … hanging out regularly at the community pool. Oregon summers are awesome.

Vitamin D is important to stay healthy. I do like to tan, but I do it safely with sun screen and limited time outside.

Depending on what you read there is different information on how much vitamin D is needed per day. Anywhere from 200-1,000 IU of vitamin D per day is recommended.

I am 41 years old and I take 1,200 mg of calcium a day, which includes 800 IU of vitamin D per day. (I also eat pretty healthy having a diet high in water, protein, fruit and vegetables.)

According to an article on WebMD, vitamin D (promotes) healthy bones, largely by promoting the absorption of calcium. … But there is recent and mounting evidence that links low levels of the vitamin to an increased risk of type 1 diabetes, muscle and bone pain, and, perhaps more serious, cancers of the breast, colon, prostate ovaries, esophagus and lymphatic system.

The truth is that sensible, non-burning sun exposure preferably at midday with no sunscreen applied is critical to health and not just because it can dramatically boost vitamin D levels into optimal range, according to an article on The Healthy Home Economist.

For people who live in areas where the sun is not out regularly they can use heliotherapy, which mimics healthy sunlight exposure, has proven to be a successful treatment in many conditions that also provide a wide range of benefits for the entire body, also from the same article on The Healthy Home Economist.

Heliotherapy has been used for:

  • Acne, psoriasis and other skin disorders
  • Muscular stimulation and relaxation
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder
  • Reducing body odor
  • Boosting the body’s immune system for the treatment of AIDS
  • Reducing bacteria count by as much as 50% from infections
  • Decontaminating blood transfusions
  • DNA repair
  • Irradiating the blood of cancer patients
  • Hyperbilrubinemia (neonatal jaundice)

I know many people are leery of the sun and for good reason. Skin cancer is real and can be deadly.

But the sun is a healthy, natural thing of which our bodies need exposure. Plants and animals depend on the sun.

Here are some benefits of sun exposure from an article on Mind Body Green:

  • Sunlight and whole foods send breast cancer into remission.
  • The sun’s light kills bad bacteria.
  • Sunlight has a beneficial effect on skin disorders.
  • Sunlight lowers cholesterol.
  • The sun’s rays lower blood pressure.
  • Sunlight penetrates deep into the skin to cleanse the blood and blood vessels.
  • Sunlight increases oxygen content in human blood.
  • Sunlight builds the immune system.
  • Regular sunlight exposure increases the growth and height of children.
  • Sunlight can cure depression.

Please be mindful of how much time you spend in the sun. When you know you are burning get out of the sun.

If you’re in Portland, enjoy our beautiful weather. Stay hydrated. Drink water and wear sun screen.

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