Why Your Sun Exposure Matters
By Genevieve Cunningham
It seems as though we're always hearing conflicting evidence about the sun. We're told that we need it. We need to get outside, breathe the fresh air, and soak in some rays. But at the same time, we’re told to protect ourselves from it. Apply sunscreen, layer up, and find the shade. So which is it? Actually, it's a little of both! If you're constantly confused about the sun, take a look at why exposure matters, followed by a few tips to get just the right amount.
Too Much Can Cause Damage
It's true that too much exposure to the sun can cause damage. But how? In the most superficial way, too much sun can cause premature wrinkling of the skin as well as age spots. In a more serious way, excessive exposure might lead to skin cancer, the most serious being melanoma. The sun’s rays are powerful, and they can cause damage long before you realize there's a problem. To protect yourself from this, make sure that the regular application of sunscreen is a normal part of your day.
Too Little Can Harm Your Health
While too much sun can be bad for you, so too can too little sun. Our bodies need a little sun exposure. We need to see the light, so to speak. The sun provides a necessary nutrient to our bodies, Vitamin D. When we're lacking in this vitamin, we may notice aches in the bones, headaches, and even depression. Getting sun exposure helps us get Vitamin D, thus protecting our physical and mental health long-term.
How to Get the Right Amount
So if we need the sun, but we're supposed to protect ourselves from it, what do we do? We quite literally do both. When you wake up in the morning, and various times throughout the day, apply a layer of sunscreen to your exposed skin. But don't hide from the sun. Get outside for short bursts throughout the day. You don't have to go out for hours at a time, but rather for a few minutes here and there. You can also try to make your outdoor time in the afternoon, as the sun’s rays are the strongest and most damaging in the morning. The sun can be scary, but it's also necessary. Respect it, and you’ll eventually find the right balance for your health.
Your sun exposure really does matter. You have to get some sun without exposing too much. Be patient and diligent in the process, and you’ll find the line to walk for better health and wellness for the rest of your life.
To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Livermore, Calif.