It is time to dust off your bicycles because on March 11, 2018 we are springing our clocks forward! Additional hours of daylight mean no more rushing around after work trying to get outside before the last beams of sunset, or digging out reflective and light-up bling because you simply just couldn’t transition out of work mode fast enough to beat the darkness. Beyond making it easier to schedule outdoor activities, Mr. Golden Sun has some other spectacular physiological benefits that we can look forward to.
Daylight savings provides more opportunity to be exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet radiation, which when taken in the right doses is not as scary as it sounds. UVB rays (one of the three types of ultraviolet light emitted from the sun) help our bodies produce vitamin D through a photosynthetic reaction. The National Institutes of Health further explains, “For most white people, a half-hour in the summer sun in a bathing suit can initiate the release of 50,000 IU (1.25 mg) vitamin D into the circulation within 24 hours of exposure; this same amount of exposure yields 20,000–30,000 IU in tanned individuals and 8,000–10,000 IU in dark-skinned people.” Vitamin D is crucial for bone development and has a positive impact on bone health in adults. Two years ago, I broke the base of my tibia, the leg’s weight bearing bone, in a ski accident. Now, I take maintaining healthy levels of vitamin D seriously and am thankful for the sun’s help in the process!
Serotonin, the neurotransmitter popularly known for contributing to the feeling of happiness also benefits from increased daylight. In fact, it is produced during the day. Therefore, the longer day results in increased serotonin levels. Along the same lines, our bodies natural opiates, endorphins, also get boosted in the bloodstream thanks to the sun’s ultraviolet power.
Alright, enough geeking out on the sun’s awesomeness. Set yourself up for success this spring by getting your equipment ready! When it comes to my bicycle I let the pros do the work for me. AJ’s Ski & Sports in Stowe, VT gave my Trek the “complete overhaul”, helping get my chain lubed, gears tuned, and brakes safe. Additionally, with Vermont’s mud season ahead, I switched out my narrow road tires for a slightly knobbier option. Knowing my bike was inspected by experts gives me the confidence needed to venture on longer rides and really let it fly down those descents.
Of course, I never leave the house without my Turtle Fur! While biking I choose to sport a half Comfort Shell Totally Tubular under my helmet and rock the full Totally Tubular to pull up and protect my cheeks from the elements. The wicking properties take care of unwanted sweat, while the brushed inside keeps me cozy while the wind blows through my hair instead of chapping my face. Even better, the fabric is UPF 50+, blocking 97% of the sun’s UV rays. Wait! What, about that vitamin D you were raving about?! Well, we’ve all heard, too much of a good thing is a bad thing… Catch a safe amount of sunshine and then take advantage of the technical qualities of Turtle Fur’s Comfort Shell and Sun Shell fabrics to prevent skin damage.
Whatever your preferred activity is, get ready to roll this spring and soak up that sweet, sweet sunshine!
Photo credit: Jason Gerhart @jason_gerhart @fresh_world_press
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Mead, N. (2008) Environ Health Perspect.