With warmer weather, most people like to spend time outside.
Here are some things to consider when planning your outdoor time:
Is getting sun good or bad? According to the article, “Benefits of Sunlight: A Bright Spot for Human Health,” from the Environmental Health Perspectives Journal, too much sunlight can lead to various conditions, but not getting enough sunlight may be even more detrimental to our bodies.
Excessive sun exposure can lead to skin conditions, cause cataracts, and accelerate the aging of skin. Though some skin cancers arise from getting too much sun, most of the skin conditions people acquire from ultraviolet radiation (sunlight) are benign. In fact, a study in the June 2003 Journal of Investigative Dermatology reported that, “most melanomas occur on the least sun-exposed areas of the body, and occupational exposure to sunlight actually reduced melanoma risk.”
Too little sun exposure can lead to autoimmune diseases, many cancers, MS, and more. This is from low levels of vitamin D. Vitamin D may be “cardioprotective” and prevent some cancers such as colon, prostate, breast, and ovarian. Many studies have shown that cancer-related deaths increase the farther away from the equator a person goes. People who live in areas far away from the equator tend to wear more clothing because of the colder weather, and the sun’s rays are not as strong during the winter.
How do we get a healthy amount of sunlight? Well, there are no conclusive studies so far as to the perfect amount of sunlight and vitamin D for each person, but we do know it is beneficial to our health. People with whiter skin absorb more vitamin D in a shorter amount of time than people with darker skin, so keep your skin color in mind when going outside. It has also been shown that, “some sunlight enters the skin even through a high-SPF sunscreen,” so you can wear sunscreen to protect yourself from too much ultraviolet radiation, but still absorb vitamin D.
There are both benefits and downfalls to sunshine. The bottom line is moderation is best.
Ideas to spend time outside:
- Go for a walk around your neighborhood or explore a different part of town.
- Play at a park.
- Go for a bike ride.
- Read a book outdoors.
- Start prepping for a garden.