– Why does being in the sun drain so much energy?

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To me 5 hours in the sun just walking is like 12 hours of working construction indoors. What causes this effect?

In: 165

You’re sweating more, which consumes a lot of water. Dehydration causes fatigue.

Your skin is likely also taking some damage from the UV radiation, which means your body also needs to spend energy on repairing that.

Dehydration? Your body needs a certain amount of water to function (e.g. carry signals via dissolved electrolytes), and this gets more difficult the less hydrated you are. You sweat a lot in the sun, even imperceptively when it’s dry, meaning you lose water constantly. People who are conditioned to the sun, e.g. outdoor workers, athletes have adapted to handle it better, and also to read their bodies signals and drink before they get thirsty, lessening the effect.

The harder you exert yourself, the hotter your cells become. If you are already close to the point where they are finding it difficult to function, your body will prevent you from exerting yourself further in order to avoid overheating. This manifests as a feeling of fatigue.

Dehydration (which can happen from sweating) also makes this happen faster, since sweating is how your body cools itself. If you don’t have a lot of extra water left, your body will make you tired sooner since more cooling is not in the “budget”.

I’ve always wondered this, because I thought being in the sun is supposed to give you energy lol.

During heat, your veins expand. Having bigger veins allows more blood to carry heat to the skin so it can be evaporated or radiated away.

However, expanded veins also means more blood volume drops is allowed to drop to the extremities thanks to gravity and the heart has to work harder to pump blood.

Feelings of tiredness can also be caused by losing too much water OR electrolytes from sweating. Water has been discussed, but electrolytes like sodium, potassium and chloride are key to regulating the chemical signalling of your body. When those electrolytes drop and are not replenished it can cause many side effects from tiredness all the way to confusion and even less of consciousness.