Extra Daylight = Extra Adventures
The summer solstice, the longest day of the year, brings extra hours of sunlight in the northern hemisphere, and that means more chances for fun outdoors. With the sun reaching its highest point in the sky on or about June 22, there’ll be more daylight hours to be outside. Whether you’re planning family vacations, three-day weekends, lazy afternoons by the river, or more frequent naps in the hammock, here are our top seven reasons (and countless ways) to celebrate the summer solstice:
1. It’s Good for Your Health
Spending more time outdoors during daylight hours is good for you! According to Harvard Health, a surprising number of North Americans—more than 50 percent of adults over 65—are vitamin D deficient. The good news is that regular exposure to sunlight is the best way for our bodies to produce vitamin D. In addition to helping the body absorb calcium to keep bones healthy and strong, vitamin D also optimizes nerves and muscles, while keeping the immune system working properly.
2. It Helps Regulate Sleep
Having trouble sleeping? Spending more time outdoors is a healthy, noninvasive way to reset your internal clock. Whether you’re looking for longer periods of restful sleep, an easier time falling asleep, or a consistent wake-up time, using the extra hours of daylight to enjoy time outside is a great place to start. Turns out sleeping outside has been shown to help regulate sleep as well! Going to sleep outside when the sun goes down and waking naturally with the sunrise can greatly improve the quality of your sleep. Consider this a reminder to schedule a camping or backpacking trip!
3. It Eases Stress and Anxiety
Fresh air and sunshine release mood-boosting endorphins and lower cortisol levels, both of which lessen stress in the body. According to research done at Georgia Tech, breathing fresh air raises oxygen levels in your brain, which, in turn, increases serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for altering your mood. And it doesn’t take Herculean efforts to reap the benefits. A brisk walk around the block can be just as effective as a strenuous hike when it comes to relieving stress and improving your mood.
4. It Boosts Creativity and Mental Acuity
The American Psychological Association reports that being outside very likely perks up a tired brain. Experiments cited in Current Directions in Psychological Science have found that exposure to nature improves memory, cognitive flexibility, and attention. Scientists theorize that because our ancestors relied on the outdoors for survival, our desire to connect with the natural world is baked into our DNA. Feeling frazzled at the end of the workday? Need a boost of creativity to finish that project? Looking for ways to inspire creativity and intelligence in kids? Explore a nearby creek, ride bikes around the neighborhood, or pack a picnic and head to the park. It could make you and your kids smarter and more productive!
5. It Can Help You Connect with Others
Unplugging and getting outside is likely to increase your opportunities to connect with others. Meet a friend for a hike, plan a day trip to the river with another family, or simply smile and wave as bikers pass by on your lunchtime walk. With all those feel-good hormones flowing and stress levels diminishing, spending time outdoors is sure to lead to positive social interactions with friends, family, and even strangers. According to studies by John Zelenski, PhD, a professor of psychology at Carleton University in Ontario, Canada, being in nature might also make us nicer. His findings suggest that spending time in the outdoors makes us feel a part of something much bigger than ourselves. The feeling of awe we get being in the presence of Mother Nature is likely to help us extend positive feelings to others. Win-win!
6. It Can Improve Fitness
Easy access to the outdoors is often linked to increased physical activity. Pulling weeds in the garden, riding bikes to do errands, and even throwing a frisbee in the park are simple ways to get your body moving this summer. Whether you’re looking to shed a few pounds, improve cardiovascular health, or keep up with the grandkids, spending more time outside is a natural way to improve your fitness level. With more daylight hours this summer, it’s easier to find excuses to get outside, play, and be healthy!
7. It May Increase Longevity
Spending time outside on a regular basis may help you live longer! A 2015 study following 108,630 American women found that those who lived near parks, lawns, trees, and forests, even in an urban setting, had significantly lower mortality than those who lived far from nature. So get out there and enjoy the longer days this summer. It could extend your life!
Don’t Forget Your Hat!
Getting outside and enjoying the sunshine is more fun with the right protective gear. Our UPF 50+ sun hats keep the whole family happy, healthy, and comfortable all year long. Fun, stylish sun hats, high-performance rain hats, and cozy winter hats come in a variety of styles for infants, kids, and adults, to make your time outside even more enjoyable. Happy summer solstice!