The health benefits of being outside are not just about increased exposure to vitamin D, but sunlight and time in nature improve mood, sleep, eyesight, immune status and overall health. Sunlight is also an effective treatment for many skin disorders, in preventing chronic disorders and in decreasing stress. To learn more information http://www.ndhealthfacts.org/index.php?title=Time_Spent_Outside
The fear of sun exposure has been taken too far. Frequent sunburns at a young age can increase your risk for some skin cancers when you're older. But the lack of sun exposure is linked to an increased risk of many other cancers including colon, prostate, lung and kidney. Many of these other cancers are more difficult to treat and have a higher mortality rate. It is not about avoiding the sun, it is about avoiding getting burnt.
Tips to enjoying the sun:
- Spend time outside between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. as that is when there is optimal UVB/UVA ratio.
- 20 minutes a day is ideal. If spending greater periods of time outside, spend more time in shaded areas.
- Stay well hydrated
- The more exposed your skin, the greater the Vitamin D absorption.
- Dark skinned individuals and the elderly require greater time outside.
- Avoid toxic sunscreens. Not only do they often cause more harm than help, but chemicals in sunscreens or any personal care products often increase the likelihood that you will burn more easily when in the sun.
- Choose chemical-free sunscreens. For support on how to do that, check out our handout on chemicals to avoid in personal care products and the website: http://www.ewg.org/newsrelease/whichsunscreenssafest
- Supplementing with Vitamin D3 is beneficial, but it does not replace spending time in nature.