10–20 Minutes per Day: 5 Benefits of Sunshine for SeniorsOctober 20, 2022
Advice about protecting our skin from overexposure to the sun is highly prevalent. Getting too much sun can lead to skin cancer, promote wrinkles and aggravate natural age-related discoloration.
It isn’t all bad, however, as a little bit of daily sunshine — as little as 10–20 minutes on the face, arms, and hands — has many benefits, especially for seniors. Let’s take a look at how seniors can feel better, improve their sleep, and increase their mental and physical well-being with a little sunshine therapy every day.
- Improved sleep
As we get older, sleep becomes increasingly elusive and precious. One way to naturally improve your sleep is through a few minutes of daily sunlight exposure, which helps align your circadian rhythm, your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle over 24 hours.
When we spend all day inside under artificial lights, our body is less able to regulate this rhythm properly, so a small amount of sun exposure per day can, over time, help align your sleep with the natural day-and-night cycle.
- Lower blood pressure
According to the Journal of the American Heart Association, sun exposure can lower blood pressure, and a three-year study on more than 342,000 patients proved that lowered systolic pressure (the first number on a blood pressure reading) was associated with UV light exposure. While the reduction may not be much, every little bit helps when high blood pressure is a concern.
- Increase vitamin D levels
One well-known benefit of the sun is the body’s ability to capture vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. Often called the “sunshine vitamin,” vitamin D is a critical nutrient we require to help our bodies maintain a healthy immune system and strong bones. Getting 10–20 minutes of sunlight a day can:
- Promote bone growth, as vitamin D helps with calcium absorption
- Improve cardiovascular health
- Strengthen the immune system
- Regulate pain relief
- Boost your mood
When we enjoy sunshine in moderation, our body reacts by increasing its production of serotonin. Often called the “happy hormone,” serotonin plays a big role in our mental health by improving our mood. People with low serotonin levels are at a greater risk for depression. It also plays a part in establishing normal sleep patterns and helps us maintain our appetite, particularly important in seniors.
A dose of daily sunshine of 10–20 minutes can help keep serotonin levels naturally elevated and make us feel happier.
- Improved fitness
We all know that daily exercise is good for us, and taking the time to get outside and soak up a few rays every day is a great way to get some movement into your routine. Every little bit of daily physical activity is a positive step for seniors’ overall health!
The bottom line: 10–20 minutes per day
Just about everyone can benefit from spending a few minutes in the sunshine every day, but seniors in particular will benefit from this simple yet enjoyable activity.
From its mood-boosting ability to its benefits for our sleep, immune systems, and even appetites, a dose of sunshine is the free health boost that seniors should enjoy whenever possible.
Picture starting your day with views of the Navesink River as you sip coffee on the patio. Then, join friends in the community garden or for a cruise on our private pontoon boat. Everything you need to fully enjoy life is right here at The Atrium at Navesink Harbor.