What sort of images does Summer evoke for you? With the equinox fast approaching, we are dreaming in sensory-laden images; the smell of lazy Sunday afternoon barbeques, glasses clinking as work debriefs are moved to bustling beer gardens, the sudden yearning to take up gardening. But does our instinctive pull towards the outdoors go deeper than enjoying these simple pleasures?
Relaxing with friends and chasing a tan are mental associations attached to the allure of the outdoors during Summer, but our cravings to get outside go deeper than our thoughts realise. Our body’s natural instincts are also pushing us out the door, as soaking up fresh air and absorbing a healthy dose of sunlight’s natural energy actually acts to improve our health. And our body’s know this, even if our minds have forgotten.
Up until the last couple of centuries, the majority of both our work and leisure time was spent outdoors. It is only in the more recent, modernised world that our lives have morphed into very indoors-orientated bubbles. Our daily routines have become shaped by alarm clocks rather than natural light, and we often end up missing most of the day’s sunlight whilst stuck inside offices and cars. Yet this is not our natural way of living, and evolution simply cannot keep up with this new boxed-in environment which we have created for ourselves on this planet. As the generations speed by, we are gradually forgetting our innate connection to the greater biological systems –realising that plants and animals are reliant on the natural world and the seasons to grow and thrive, but losing touch with our own instincts to draw from the same resources.
One of those most base resources now eluding us is sunlight. Sunlight is our greatest source of Vitamin D – something more than half of the general population is now deficient in. Very few foods naturally carry Vitamin D, and so it’s tricky for us to absorb enough through diet alone – yet it is an essential vitamin for bone and cell growth, inflammation reduction and both neuromuscular and immune function.
Again, it is only in modern times that the sun’s rays have taken on a dangerous reputation. Historically, sunbathing was seen – by civilisations such as the Ancient Greeks – as the best medicine available to us naturally. When talking of sunbathing, we don’t mean sitting in the baking heat while trying to tan, but instead allowing moderate exposure to UVB rays on a daily basis – going by what is appropriate for your skin type, age and race.
As a guideline, around 10-20 minutes of unprotected exposure to natural sunlight each day has been shown to boost Vitamin D, whilst also lowering blood pressure, regulating blood sugar and cholesterol levels and increasing your white blood cell count to boost immunity levels. Our Harmonizing Philosophy has been sculpted around recognising that humans are part of a greater living organism, and so in order to function at our full vitality and to continue to grow and strengthen as living beings, we need the same nourishment as plants and animals do. So, this summer remind yourself that in the same way that flowers thrive in the sunlight, so too do we.
Why not use this most alluring time of year to get outside, and start to take advantage of our wonderful body’s ability to reap these nutritional benefits from our world’s natural resources? Over the page we have put together some fun and creative things you can do to help inspire you to do just this.
This article has been taken from has been taken from our FREE quarterly lifestyle magazine, Harmonizing Life. To receive each new issue of the magazine straight to your inbox, simply sign up here.