In most parts of the US, winter is still going strong. And without a doubt, you and everyone else is eagerly waiting for sunshine and warmer weather. But why do we love the sunshine so much? Sunshine can actually boost your mood, so it’s a good idea to have fun ways to enjoy all this light and warmth.

Dr. Norman Rosenthal has spent more than 30 years studying sunshine and it’s positive emotional effects. And after over three decades of study, he knows one thing’s for sure: “Sunlight is a stimulant, and it can be an antidepressant. It makes you happier.”

This is rooted in biology. Serotonin can increase serotonin levels (the happy hormone) and it can help to improve cognitive function, as well as the body’s ability to produce vitamin D.

According to Rosenthal, “Sunlight activates humans.” So, it’s not enough to wait for the sunshine to finally arrive. It’s a good idea to make the most of this sunshine, and to have enjoyable pastimes that you can enjoy in the sunshine.

The more sunshine you get, the better off you’ll be. And the health benefits of sunshine “can work within hours”, says Rosenthal, “but I would say two to four days would be the time to really see the effects.”

So, what are some fun things you can do when the sunshine finally arrives? Here are just five ideas to get you started.

  • Kayaking
  • Swimming
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • An impromptu game of volley ball

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