Add this to the darned if you do, darned if you don't column.
Hiding out of the sun may protect you from skin cancer. But it's increasing your risk of a host of diseases.
So with Labor Day staring us in the face, here's your official command to get outside and soak up the rays before summer is over.
It's good for your mood. People used to call their bad moods in the winter months the winter blues or blahs, but scientists have officially dubbed it seasonal affective disorder. The lack of sunlight can reduce your serotonin levels in the brain and also affect the circadian rhythms of your body.
It will protect you from multiple sclerosis, arthritis, diabetes, and some types of cancer. A genetic study has found low levels of vitamin D (one of those vitamins we soak up from the sun) will actually trigger 229 genes related to autoimmune diseases.
It will help you sleep. Exposure to sunlight can increase melatonin production, promoting good sleep habits.
It can help you maintain a healthy weight. This is twofold -- going out in the sun means you're moving around rather than sitting on your butt inside. Scientists have also linked higher vitamin D to the ability to lose weight.
It soothes achy joints. Arthritis patients are advised to get outside because the heat of the sun is soothing to swollen joints, but you don't have to be arthritic to enjoy the warmth.
Are you scheduling a date with the sun before summer's done?
Image via Diegosaurius Rex/Flickr