We are constantly being told to avoid the sun during the harshest parts of the day. Today’s common advice is to cover up with clothing and hats and to make sure we apply sunscreen liberally. Applications should continue every 2 hours while we are out in the sun and we should not venture out between 10 am and 2 pm if at all possible.
With the rise of skin cancer, many people have faithfully taken the advice to limit their sun exposure to heart. Just visit the beach or park on a sunny day and you’ll see almost everyone wearing a hat. People will be regularly applying their sunscreen and making sure babies and children are wearing clothing that blocks out almost all of the sun’s harmful rays.
But at what cost to your health?
Studies now show that some members of our community may be in danger of various health risks due to their complete lack of sun exposure.
We encourage you to find a happy medium and to spend a small amount of time soaking up the sun this summer. Here’s 10 great reasons why you should!
1. Good old vitamin D. This is the one that almost everyone would be aware of. Our bodies produce vitamin D when we spend time exposed to sunlight. When we constantly cover up and don’t allow any type of exposure, we run the risk of being deficient in vitamin D. While we can get vitamin D from some foods like oily fish and eggs, the best and easiest source is from natural sun exposure.
2. Disease Prevention. Sunlight exposure might be just what the population needs to decrease our risk of some types of cancers. Breast cancer, colon cancer and prostate cancer all show signs of being prevented by regular sunlight exposure. Studies are continuing to try to establish a recommended exposure period.
3. Better immunity. White blood cells undergo increased production when the body is exposed to sunlight. They also experience an improved capacity to complete their important work in the human body.
4. Clear skin. If you suffer from skin conditions such as acne, eczema, boils or rashes, these can all be aided by gentle sun exposure. Obviously you should never allow yourself to become sunburned, but limiting yourself to around 15 minutes per day for the problem areas can help your skin to become clearer.
5. Boost your mood. Being out in the sun has an amazing ability to improve your mood. Your body will have increased levels of serotonin and create extra endorphins when you spend time outside. Symptoms of PMS may be improved and just about everyone feels better when they have a natural, healthy tan.
6. Sleep better. Exposure to natural light during the day can assist you to sleep better at night. Our bodies naturally make Melatonin and this hormone helps with sleep and also slows down the aging process. Being out in the sun during the day increases the body’s production of Melatonin at night, helping you to get a good night’s sleep.
7. Sunlight is an effective treatment for jaundice. Small amounts of sun exposure can reduce the effects of jaundice for both adults and children. Being outside is a great way to naturally treat jaundice.
8. Improved liver function. Sunlight improves liver function in your body and will assist the breaking down of body waste. Great liver function means you have less chance of cancer and other diseases.
9. Pain relief. Those suffering from arthritis may experience a reduction in the pain of their joints. Sun exposure can lower pain levels and assist in natural healing. If you have uncomfortable, swollen joints it is definitely worth a try!
10. You can grow veggies! A great reason to soak up the sun this summer is to grow your own vegetables. Everyone knows that home-grown vegetables taste much better than anything you purchase from the supermarket. They have improved color and can be grown without nasty chemicals being sprayed all over them. You will also benefit from some gentle exercise while caring for them and maybe even learn a new skill!
As you can see there are many reasons to spend regular short periods of time in the great outdoors!
Small amounts of sun exposure can offer so many health benefits that everyone should aim to spend at least 15 minutes in the sun every day. Precautions should always be taken to make sure that the exposure occurs at times of the day when the sun is not at its peak (generally 10 am – 2 pm) and you should always consider protecting yourself against UV rays.
Humans are designed to spend time outdoors. We need regular sunshine to increase our natural vitamin D production and for all of the other 9 reasons listed above. If we are sensible about it we can easily find that happy medium that leads to excellent natural sunshiny health!