The sun has been the giver of life and a symbol of great reverence in times past. The Greeks, Mayans and Egyptians gave much weight to Gods of the sun, and with great reason. The sun brings about a ton of health benefits that even those ancient civilizations were smart enough to respect.
When most people hear about South Africa, it’s often in reference to the amazing amount of beaches and days spent laying in the hot African sun sipping a cool drink. South Africa enjoys a long hot summer season, and even spring and fall tend to be more temperate than other areas, perhaps none more so than in Wilderness, where you can stay at a five star establishment like On the Beach enjoying the warm rays.
On the Beach is the epitome of enjoying your South African holiday, where you can relax in luxurious surroundings, and you’re only a few steps away from the sprawling beach in Wilderness. While there is much to be said about the harmful effects of sunlight when a person is overexposed, or not wearing sunscreen, there’s still a lot of great health benefits to be had from lying in the sun if you’re clever about it.
Sunshine for athletes
Sun bathing is not just for the ladies, as doing so has plenty of health benefits for men. Men begin to lose bone mass at age 30, but by ensuring high levels of vitamin D can help to slow that process which helps to prevent easily broken bones and also helps to get rid of muscle pains and aches, weakness and other poor health aspects linked with softer bones. Professional sports teams are even hip to the many benefits of the sun. Studies proving that sunlight can help make stronger muscles known as “fast-twitch” muscles, key in any athlete’s performance show this and many other benefits. Among them are less swelling, and putting a stop to upper respiratory infections. Enette Larson-Meyer, the associate professor and vitamin D researcher at the University of Wyoming says, “We know that lack of vitamin D can compromise athletic performance… .the week before an event, you may want to get some sun.”
Harvard’s School of Medicine even talks about this, linking low vitamin D levels to poor bone health, multiple sclerosis, and even prostate cancer. Getting extra sun also helps to beat the blues, so if you notice you’re feeling down or more lethargic, your vitamin D levels may be to blame. Proven research shows that getting sunlight through your skin and your eyes helps to prevent Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is a primary contributor of depression in winter months.
At a glance
Sun benefits (with and without vitamin D) include:
- Enhancing mood and giving higher levels of energy caused by the release of endorphin’s
- Protection against things like multiple sclerosis and other musculoskeletal disorders
- Treating skin diseases like psoriasis, vitiligo, dermatitis (atopic), scleroderma and eczema.
- Enhances skin barrier functions
- Begins the processing of nitric oxide which protects skin against damage, protects the cardiovascular system, and promotes the healing of wounds as well as preventing some types of cancer
- Regulates melatonin levels, which help you to sleep at night normally
- Relieves the pain caused by fibromyalgia
- Was the go-to treatment for tuberculosis before antibiotics took its place, and was effective as a treatment
- Treats jaundiced babies
- Treats Seasonal Affective Disorder
- Regulates body temperature
- Protects against melanoma and is effective treatment against T Cell lymphoma
The right amount of sunlight
While these are great reasons to get out and enjoy the sun, researchers do urge people to be wise with the amount of sun they get. Recommended “dose” of sunlight for people is one erythemal does, which is the amount of time it takes to produce erythema, which is the pinkening of the skin. It doesn’t mean to turn your skin red and if you go beyond that slight bit of rosy pink, you’re within the levels which can be harmful if done repeatedly.
The sun can be remarkably good for you while you’re enjoying your holiday in Wilderness South Africa, but the African sun can be quite a beast in summer and it gets quite hot very quickly. Avoid overexposure while staying at On the Beach by bringing along your sunscreen, an umbrella or parasol, bottles of water and appropriate clothing. Luckily, On the Beach is actually right on the sandy beaches, so you don’t have to venture too far from shade if you need to go back inside to be on the beach enjoying the rays.