5 Ways That Sunlight Can Improve Your Health

5 Ways That Sunlight Can Improve Your Health

Diet and exercise are essential to good health, but they aren’t the only factors to consider. Did you know that light and darkness can affect your wellbeing? According to the World Health Organization (WHO), getting between 5 and 15 minutes of sunlight on your arms, hands, and face at least two to three times each week will boost your vitamin D.

Darkness triggers the production of melatonin in the brain, which helps you sleep. Sunlight causes a similar effect that produces serotonin. Serotonin improves mood and helps you feel focused and calm.

How can sunlight improve your health?

  • Boost Mood for Improved Mental Health

As stated above, the sun can boost your mood by triggering the production of serotonin. Researchers at Brigham Young University found that people experienced more mental health distress during seasons with less sun exposure. Less distress was reported on days with more sunshine.

Their efforts indicate that sunlight has a stronger impact on mental health than any other environmental factor, including temperature and rainfall.

  • Lower Blood Pressure with Sunlight

Exposure to sunlight can lower your blood pressure. Nitric oxide found on the top layer of skin reacts in the sun. This causes the blood vessels to widen, allowing the oxide to move through the body. Wider vessels lower blood pressure.

The Journal of Investigative Dermatology study suggests that this effect could lower the risk of stroke and heart attack. Connect Electric believes that the sun is important for good health, but always recommends talking to your doctor when managing conditions like high blood pressure.

  • Vitamin D Helps Build Strong Bones

Sunlight exposure makes the body transform cholesterol into vitamin D. Vitamin D is involved in the growth of strong bones. Medical studies have found a link between low vitamin D levels and rickets in children. There is also a link to bone-wasting diseases like osteomalacia and osteoporosis.

  • Lower Cancer Risk Through Safe Exposure

Sun exposure can help lower your risk of some types of cancers. It is important to note that too much exposure can increase your risk of skin cancer. So you should always follow the recommended guidelines when exposing yourself to the sun.

Researchers found that people who lived in regions with fewer daylight hours were more likely to develop Hodgkin’s lymphoma, colon, ovarian, pancreatic, and prostate cancers.

  • Light Therapy for Skin Conditions

A little sunlight can go a long way in reducing the symptoms of some skin conditions. WHO reported that sun exposure may help treat psoriasis, eczema, jaundice, and acne. Doctors sometimes recommend UV radiation to treat these conditions.

A dermatologist should be consulted to determine if this is the best course of treatment for a skin condition.

Many factors are involved in nurturing long-term good health. You should consider a multi-faceted approach when coming up with a plan for yourself. Eat nutritious food, get plenty of exercise, and enjoy sunlight in the recommended quantities. A little bit each day can have a significant impact on your mental and physical health.

Important Health Checks You Shouldn’t Overlook

Many of us wait until we feel ill to see a doctor. However, there’s no need to wait until you you’re unwell to see someone about your health. There are health checks that you should have carried out to help pick up on any problems before they become more obvious. This is especially important as you get older because your risk of developing a number of different illnesses and health conditions rises as you age. Once you reach 50, there are many health checks and tests that can help you stay on top of your health and catch any problems earlier.

 

Cancer Screening

 

There are many different types of cancer, and several of them become more of a risk as you get older. Some cancers should be screened for when you’re a younger adult, such as cervical cancer and testicular cancer. However, as you get older, there are various other cancers which are more common. These include breast cancer, bowel cancer, and prostate cancer. There are different screening tests that pick up on different types of cancer. For example, a mammogram is designed to detect signs of breast cancer. Prostate cancer can now be detected with a blood test. It’s also a good idea to check your skin and keep an eye on moles for signs of skin cancer.

Image from Pixabay – CC0

 

Blood Pressure Tests

 

Your blood pressure can be an indicator of your health in a number of ways. If it’s too high (hypertension) or too low (hypotension) is could mean there’s a problem or it can increase your risk of developing several problems. High blood pressure can put you at risk of heart attack, heart failure, stroke and kidney disease. It might also be linked to some types of dementia. Your blood pressure can be checked at any time and any age. It involves a cuff around your arm, which will inflate to measure your blood pressure. They’re usually digital these days, but they can sometimes be manually pumped up too.

 

Health Checks for Your Heart

 

Measuring your blood pressure will help to pick up on any problems that could cause heart issues. There are other ways to test the health of your heart too, from simple things you can do yourself to tests your doctor or a nurse can carry out. You can check your pulse on your own using a watch with a second hand or digital watch/timer. Your doctor can also measure your pulse, often with a small device placed on your finger, as well as listen to your heart with a stethoscope. Blood tests can check your heart health too by checking for signs of kidney and liver failure, which can be signs of heart failure.

 

Eye Tests

 

Getting your eyes tested is something that you should do throughout your life. You could find that you need glasses at any point, and your eyesight can get worse or sometimes better at any time. There are also various eye conditions that can affect you, especially as you get older. Eye tests can even pick up on some signs of other health conditions, from brain tumors to diabetes. An eye test every two years is usually recommended, and some people might benefit from having them more often.

Image from Pixabay – Pixabay License

 

Hearing Tests

 

As well as testing the health of your eyes, it’s a good idea to get your hearing checked too. While people are often great at keeping up with routine eye tests, getting our hearing tested isn’t something that we do as often. It’s most important as you get older, but also if you notice any problems with your hearing. As hearing test will pick up any hearing loss by checking the functioning of your ears and the sounds that you are able to register. Hearing tests consist of several different parts, including a physical examination of the ear, a pure tone test that consists of different tones being played into the ear, and a speech test.

 

Cholesterol and Blood Glucose Tests

 

Checking your cholesterol is something you should do if you’re over 40, take cholesterol-reducing medication, are overweight, have a condition that can raise your cholesterol (such as high blood pressure) or there is a history of cardiovascular disease in your family. High cholesterol levels can increase your risk of cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attack and stroke. Testing your blood glucose (blood sugar) levels is also a good idea, helping to pick up on signs of diabetes and other conditions.

 

Routine health checks can help you to detect problems with your health before they have a chance to develop further or cause more issues. Talk to your doctor about which checks you should be having.

What Are The Dangers Of Sitting Down All Day?

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It’s believed that more than 25% of us live a sedentary lifestyle. This involves sitting down for most of the day whether it’s watching the TV, working at a desk or driving.

Most of us are regularly told that sitting down for long periods is unhealthy, but what exactly are the health dangers. Here are just a few of the possible negative health consequences of sitting down all day.

You’ll gain weight

The most obvious health risk is weight gain. Without being active, the body is unable to burn off excess calories. Sitting down also weakens muscles – these often end up converting into fat. The thighs and stomach are common places for fat to store up as these muscles are rarely used at all when sitting down.

It’s bad for your joints

Sitting down all day is also bad on the joints. Because a sedentary lifestyle can cause weight gain, this extra weight can then put pressure on the joints such as the knees and hips. This increased pressure can then cause cartilage to wear away, which can eventually lead to bones rubbing against one another – a well-known condition known as osteoarthritis.

It can cause sciatica

A sedentary lifestyle can also increase the risk of sciatica. This is a condition that usually results in pain leading from the lower back all the way down the leg. Sciatic nerve pain is believed to be caused by discs from the spine irritating the sciatic nerve root, which itself is linked to spending too much time sitting down. Such pain can be chronic and can seriously affect day-to-day life.

It can cause DVT

DVT (deep vein thrombosis) is the formation of a blood clot within a deep vein, usually in the legs. It is sympathized by reddening and swelling. A common cause of DVT is sitting down for long periods – restricted movement stops blood from flowing freely, which can then cause it to clot. DVT is dangerous if not treated and has been linked to heart attacks.

It’s bad for your heart

Sitting down all day can negatively affect the heart is various ways. The heart, like any muscle, needs to be exercises to keep it healthy – this can only be done through physical exercise. As stated already, sitting down all day also increases the risk of clots through restricted movement.

It’s bad for your back

A sedentary lifestyle can also be bad for your back. The back becomes stiff and weak when sat down for long periods as it’s not been used to support your body. Craning over a desk can be particularly bad for the back – if you spend all day at a desk, you should try to get into a habit of sitting up straight.

It’s bad for your mental health

Staying sedentary could also have a negative impact on your mental health. There have been many links that show exercise to be good for the mind – it pumps the body full of feelgood endorphins, which help to fight stress. Exercise also helps to get a fresh supply of oxygen to the brain, helping to improve concentration. All this can help to improve mental health. By being sedentary all day, you won’t be getting these benefits of exercise.

You’re more susceptible to diabetes

Sitting down for long periods also increases the risk of diabetes. This is because a sedentary lifestyle can result in changes to the body’s metabolism including insulin resistance. This can lead to type 2 diabetes. Diabetes can result in multiple organ failure if it isn’t treated properly.

There’s a greater risk of dementia

There’s also a strong correlation between people that live a sedentary lifestyle and people that develop dementia. While scientists aren’t entirely sure as to why this is, it’s another good reason to not spend all day sitting around.

There’s a greater risk of cancer

To top it all off, a sedentary lifestyle has also been linked to an increase in the risk of cancer. Lung, head and neck cancers are some of the most common types associated with sitting down for long periods

How To Take A Stand…

With so many possible negative health consequences, it should be easy to see why we should all be spending more time on our feet and less time sitting. Of course, taking a stand isn’t easy, as many activities are more practical to perform while sitting (you can’t drive a lorry while standing).

If your job requires you to spend long periods sat down, you may be able to compensate for this by exercising a lot out of work hours. If you usually commute to work by car, consider whether walking might be an option. If this isn’t possible, you could always go to a gym in your spare time or go jogging or simply exercise from home. This could help to give the mind and body the physical activity that it needs.

There are some commonly sedentary activities can be done whilst standing up or exercising. For instance, you don’t have to be sat down to watch the TV and could add in workouts such as squats and push ups as you watch certain shows. Standing desks meanwhile are becoming an option in some offices, allowing workers to use computers whilst standing.

You don’t have to be on your feet all the time to make a positive impact to your lifestyle. In fact, simply going on a five minute walk on your lunch break instead of sitting at your desk the whole time could make a difference.