There are lots of surprising facts – and myths – about suntanning, and just like any other scientific process, many discoveries are made over the years. You may be wondering what on earth suntanning has to do with burning fat, so let’s find out whether or not sunbathing burns fat!
Does sunbathing burn fat?
When you see this question, you’re probably very intrigued by it, and maybe even confused, initially, as the first thing you think of when sunbathing comes up probably isn’t about its ability to burn calories or slim your body. However, our bodies are very complex structures, so something unusual like this isn’t unexpected, and science is constantly discovering new, exciting things about us in many different areas. But is this question true, and if so, how?
The truth is, in fact, there is some evidence to show that this could be true, and it’s a very interesting discovery. However, you should be aware that this is very new to science, and there haven’t been enough experiments to prove that this is a completely flawless theory, but evidence so far does lead there. It’s also important that you don’t become fixated by this fact and decide to spend every waking minute sunbathing – that’s very extreme, and spending lots of time in the Sun, particularly if you aren’t adequately protected, can be very harmful.
When the Sun emits its light, there are a variety of different rays and waves which come along with the heat and brightness, some of which you may have heard of before. UV rays, the ones responsible for sunburn, suntanning and the majority of Sun-related issues are one of these rays, and blue light is another. You may have heard of blue light before concerning phone and computer screens, as well as other purposes such as LED and fluorescent lights – blue light is everywhere.
However, the Sun is our main source of blue light and, because of the amount of the Sun’s light we’re exposed to when outside, these levels are significantly higher than those of a computer screen or lightbulb. This blue light is the key ingredients which links the Sun and sunbathing to getting into shape.
This information comes primarily from a study undertaken in the University of Alberta in Canada, in 2018, by some scientists who were investigating the infamous winter weight gain. The idea is that some of the fat cells in our bodies which lie just below the surface of the skin could possibly be sensitive to the blue light we just talked about.
If this is the case, and the cells are sensitive to blue light, the researchers realised that, during the winter months, they are shielded from a lot of blue light, as the Sun is less intensive, and we tend to be inside more. This gives the fat cells an opportunity to build up and grow, leading to weight gain.
In the summer, on the other hand, these cells would theoretically shrink once exposed to UV light, and this would lead to those extra pounds gained in the winter to leave our bodies. Now, this probably makes a little more sense than it did to start with, but there still haven’t been many other studies or major experiments to support this initial data.
There is also another way by which we can burn some calories when sunbathing, and it involves data which has been proven many times over, and the concept is a very familiar one in science. No matter what you’re doing, you are constantly burning calories, even when you’re sleeping, and it’s just the number of calories being burned which differs between activities.
When you sunbathe, you may have noticed that it can become very sweaty and hot quite quickly, especially if you’re completely exposed to the Sun, without any shade or shelter. That sweating is just like sweating during a workout, and you may even notice that you become tired faster in the Sun or heat.
Essentially, you burn more calories when sunbathing, as the Sun makes you sweat, which burns additional calories to those already being burnt in the first place through the normal processes. However, you should know one key piece of information: those additional calories aren’t a very significant amount, and it would be impossible to burn as many calories sunbathing as you would by doing a workout or even going for a decent walk. Nevertheless, you would be burning more calories than if you were laying down in an air-conditioned room.
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In conclusion, there is some evidence to suggest that sunbathing can work off some of your winter weight, but we aren’t currently able to access enough of it to prove that this is a concrete fact. Although, this isn’t to say that it isn’t the case, as who knows what we’ll discover in the future! If you are sunbathing, just make sure that you’re well-protected from the Sun to prevent any skin conditions and concerns in the future!