BY CLAIRE HUSHON
With spring quickly approaching, the temperature is rising by the day and those bitter cold ‘Bury days are being left behind.
And nice weather means students are spending more and more time outside.
Sunlight can be beneficial for your health, but it is also important to know the risks of too much sun exposure, and how to protect yourself.
Spending time outside raises vitamin D levels, which the National Wildlife Federation says can help our bones and protect our bodies from diseases later in life.
Not only is sunlight good for the body it’s good for the mind too. Spending time in the sunlight can reduce stress and even help improve focus. Sitting outside between classes might be the perfect study break.
Even our sleep patterns are affected when we spend time outside. The National Wildlife Federation says that regular doses of bright natural light make it easier to sleep at night. So, if you can, try printing your notes and reading them outside, rather than staring at a computer screen for hours at a time.
Now that it’s getting warmer outside, you may want to take your workouts outdoors. You’ll be more likely to exercise longer, because of the mood-elevating effects of the sunlight.
It’s great to get outside and soak up the sun after the winter Salisbury just experienced, but it is important to keep in mind the risks of staying in the sun too long, and know how to protect yourself.
The American Cancer Society has many tips for preventing skin cancer.
The sun’s UV rays are strongest during the middle of the day, so try not to spend too much time outside between 10 am and 4 pm. If you are outside then, wearing a hat can protect your face from getting burnt.
If you’re heading to Ocean City, keep in mind that the sun reflects off of the water and sand, making you more susceptible to burning.
UV rays are stronger during the spring and summer, so your risk of sunburn is greater than it was when you arrived at school in the fall.
The strength of light in a certain area is called the UV index. The higher the number, the higher the risk. Most weather apps display the UV index for your area, so you can protect your skin accordingly.
Some people have a higher risk of skin cancer due to genetics. If you have light hair, pale skin, or have a family history of skin cancer, you should be more careful of how much time you spend in the sun. Additionally, some medicines make your skin more sensitive to the sun, so know the side effects of your prescriptions.
As it gets warmer this spring, get outside and take advantage of all of the benefits the sun offers. You just may notice yourself feeling more relaxed and happier.
Just remember the easiest way to protect yourself from the sun is to apply sunscreen regularly!