Health Benefits of the Sun

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Today we live modernized society full of convenience and technology spending a lot of time indoors. Most of us are too tired once home and just want to sit down on the couch to rest. Leaving back out of the house is the last thing on our minds in most cases.

As a result of spending most of our time indoors and barely any outdoors, we do our health a disservice. Then over time, we wonder why we have issues such as vision problems, weak bones and/or problems sleeping. This may be partly due to us not getting enough sunlight, a vital resource for optimal health.

Some of you think you get enough sunlight by opening the shades on their windows letting the light shine in but I have some news for you; that’s not the quality of sunlight your body is looking for. You ask what about artificial sunlight through lightbulbs? Again, that may not be the quality of light your body is looking for. Sunlight via windows and artificial spectrum lightbulbs does not contain all the light spectrums the sun provides due to some light spectrums being filtered out by the material they’re made of. We are built to thrive from the sun radiation like most living organisms because it provides nourishment for our bodies to function properly.

Health Benefits:

  • Optimize vitamin D production (2)
  • Enhance Mood and Energy (1)
  • Stronger Bones (2)
  • Improve Sleep (1)
  • Lowers Blood Pressure (3)
  • May prevent or lower the risk of some cancers such as colorectal, breasts and prostate (4)
  • May help treat certain skin conditions such as rickets, psoriasis, eczema, and jaundice (5)

The sun is so useful to us that it has and continues to be used as a treatment known as heliotherapy or sun therapy. This type of treatment is used to treat conditions such as rickets, SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) and other light deficiency diseases. As we become more knowledgeable through the years, we know too much sun can lead to sunburn, damaged DNA; while too little sun can lead to vitamin D deficiency, weak bones and a host of other issues.

So how much sun do we need? Based on current and previous studies it varies depending on sunscreen use, time of day, age, latitude, skin pigmentation and the time of the year. The darker your skin pigment, the longer you need to stay in the sun to reap the benefits and the lighter your skin pigment, the less you need to stay in the sun to reap its benefits. A general rule would be to get 10-20 minutes of sun a day with no sunscreen in the warmer months, revealing as much skin as possible, preferably the parts that usually don’t get sun and are appropriate to reveal in public. In the colder month, one would usually have to get 4-5 times the amount of sun they would need in the colder months.

One must be sure to incorporate daily exposure to sunlight to help maintain good health but be cautious as well. Signs of getting too much sun may include redness, peeling, itching, rashes, spots and/or painful to touch the skin. Therefore, be sure to monitor yourself hours and days after being in the sun. Use sunblock containing all-natural ingredients in addition to having a diet high in antioxidants which are known to protect against ultraviolet ray induced skin cancer. Apply the sunblock after you get some direct sun on the skin for a while, then continue your outdoor activity.

All in all, go have some fun in the sun. The sun is your friend, spend some time with him/her but not too much time. You may start to become irritated with him/her, literally on your skin. A corny joke but so true.

Be Healthy, Be Balanced, Be You

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