Sunshine and Health - More Closely Linked Than You Think
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Sunshine and Health Go Together

Get the Benefits Without the Risks

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Sunshine and health are more closely linked than you might think. We need to understand that there is a lot of misinformation about the dangers of sunshine. While there are many warnings about the dangers of overexposure to sunshine, especially because of the risk of skin cancer, those warnings need to be balanced with the considerable advantages to getting sufficient sunshine. Getting regular sun exposure may actually, when done correctly, have more benefits than risks. The sun is natural and good for you. Just don't overdo it, never burn and eat a good diet.

Benefits of Sunshine Exposure

sunshine and health
  1. Kills germs Sunlight is an efficient germ killer.

  2. Elevates the mood.

  3. Enhances the immune system.

  4. Relieves some PMS symptoms.

  5. Lowers blood cholesterol levels.

  6. Alleviates arthritic joint pain.

  7. Improves sleep The hormone melatonin is needed for good sleep and is controlled by the light-dark cycle. While melatonin production only happens at night in the dark, daily exposure to sunlight increases the production of melatonin

  8. Stimulates production of Vitamin D which enables absorption of calcium from the intestines to build healthy bones. You will be surprised to see how many other benefits of Vitamin D there are. And you should be aware of vitamin D food sources.

  9. Reduces levels of breast, colon and prostate cancers.

  10. Reduces SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) a common winter depression that is relieved by sunlight.

Risks of Exposure to Sunshine

  1. Malignant melanoma can be a risk. It is the worst form of skin cancer. Be careful not to burn. This greatly increases the risk.

  2. Skin wrinkling can be caused be overdoing it in the long-term.

  3. Sunburn is an obvious risk.

Sorting it Out

So there are health risks and there are health benefits to sunshine exposure. Not mentioned in the benefits is that it is just nice to be outside in the sunshine. Outside is where we exercise and relax and often socialize. We just somehow know that it is natural and pleasurable to be outside in the sunshine. So, the question is: can we minimize the risks and gain the benefits? The answer comes in understanding the risks better.

How to Avoid the Risks

Sunscreen Anything you put on your skin will be absorbed into your body. If you can't even pronounce the ingredients and wouldn't put it in your mouth then don't put it on your skin unless you really need to. Use the other methods first and remember sun exposure in proper amounts is good. Try to use sunscreen only when you can't avoid prolonged exposure and the other methods are not available.

There are sensible things you can do to minimize the risks and gain the benefits:

  1. Gradual exposure If you gradually expose yourself to the sun in the spring a little at a time and allow your skin time to produce skin pigment you will have a degree of natural protection.

  2. Vegetarian Diet Animal experiments showed that those on a good diet had a zero skin cancer rate on sun exposure compared to a high rate for those on a junk-food diet.

  3. Cover Up If you keep susceptible (untanned) parts covered you can avoid burns.

Learn about more ideas for sunburn prevention. Sunshine and health are definitely related. Do what you can to get adequate, safe sun exposure and if you do burn see the page on sunburn treatment.

Other Sunshine and Health Information

It is interesting that the very old and the very young tolerate sunlight better than those in childbearing years and are less likely to get serious sunburns. This is related to hormone function.

Studies show that most people only put on enough sunscreen to get 25% of the SPF rating given on the bottle.

The burning UV rays can penetrate cloud cover so be careful even on cloudy days especially if not used to sun exposure and suddenly going to a more tropical climate.

Dr. Sunshine says get out and enjoy the sunshine and health will be your reward - just be sensible about it. Along with sunshine, you can get the benefits Dr. Air talks about - providing you live in an area where it is clean. Be sure to consult with Dr. Exercise as well and you will be encouraged to fulfill that important component of health at the same time. Remember, for any lifestyle-related area you can consult a 'doctor' online for free advice.

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