Health & Medical Fitness & bodybuilding

Getting Your Daily Dose of Sunshine

John Denver, a folk singer, had a famous song that started "Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy...
" While in that case the phrase was intended to describe the simple pleasures of a pleasant sunny day, the singer was more on target than he may have realized.
Research shows that children growing up today (and by today, we mean in the last decade or so) have far less hardy immune systems and show major vitamin D deficiencies, even if they are well-fed and belong to health-oriented families.
Many scientists believe that this deficiency is due in part to a movement indoors over the past ten to twenty years.
At first you may laugh, wondering what vitamin D has to do with the weather outside, but in fact it has everything to do with every sunny day.
As our social lives, our jobs and our livelihoods have become more electronically based, as a culture we have begun spending more time inside.
Our children also learn to live, work and play online, in addition to having a vast repertoire of video games and other electronic entertainment at their disposal.
As more people live in cities and other urban areas, the outdoor play options for many decrease even further.
The result: a net loss of sunshine exposure.
While on the surface this may seem like a good thing - especially if you worry about skin cancer - in reality some sun exposure is integral to a truly healthy lifestyle.
Sunshine helps the body produce and use vitamin D, which plays an essential role in many aspects of health including your immune system.
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Vitamin D deficiencies can lead to autoimmune problems like diabetes and psoriasis, risks of certain types of cancers as well as hair loss and other physical manifestations of malnutrition.
Fortunately, the solution is fairly easy.
A nice walk outside each day, an hour or two of yard work once or twice a week or a quick splash in the pool are all ways to up your sun exposure and jump start your vitamin D levels.
Of course, you can also take a vitamin D supplement, but getting outside is also a great way to get more active.
This does not mean that you should neglect your sun safety habits.
But practice them in moderation.
Wear sunscreen and a hat if you burn easily, but do not avoid the sun entirely for fear of sunburn.
Instead, monitor and moderate your exposure to insure that you can enjoy being outside without paying for it later.
You will find that you feel better and that you are enjoying the outdoors more because of it!

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