I decided to dedicate my very first blog post to SUNSHINE, which I consider the most important preventative measure against disease. We have all heard of the various benefits of Vitamin D, particularly the D3 component, however it might soon become widely accepted that the plain old sunshine 'taken' through the skin is far more beneficial to our overall health than the best D3 out there. Moreover, Vitamin D is a steroid hormone which is meant to be obtained through our skin's direct exposure to the Sun and not via any diet or supplements.
It is all about the appropriate amount of exposure. Provided that we do not overexpose or, in other words, do not allow ourselves to get burned, we can reap huge rewards in terms of cancer prevention, mood/serotonin elevation, reduction in aches and pains, improved skin condition and muscle function - just to name a few of the main benefits.
More and more studies are becoming available in support of the bold statements presented in the above paragraphs. The latest research under the title of "Avoidance of sun exposure is a risk factor for all-cause mortality: results from the Melanoma in Southern Sweden cohort" was published in the Journal of Internal Medicine in April this year. The scientists found that "all-cause mortality was inversely related to sun exposure habits. The mortality rate amongst avoiders of sun exposure was approximately twofold higher compared with the highest sun exposure group" and concluded that "avoiding sun exposure is a risk factor for all-cause mortality. Following sun exposure advice that is very restrictive in countries with low solar intensity might in fact be harmful to women's health."
I personally made sunbaths a regular part of my daily health/wellness routine. I start with 15-20 minutes of whole body exposure during the middle part of a sunny day and progressively increase it as my skin slowly adjusts. I noticed that after I get my 'sunshine fix' my stress levels significantly decrease and my muscles can sustain a higher intensity mountain bike riding for longer periods of time.
I recently came across a website by public health promotion organization called GrassrootsHealth. They declared the month of May as a National Sunshine Month and have a wealth of information dedicated to the benefits of sunshine and vitamin D.
You can find them at http://www.grassrootshealth.net/