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October 23, 2017

The Physical Benefits of Being Outdoors in the Sunlight

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As the weather gets cooler, we tend to stay inside more often. Every year, after the first chill sets in, we retreat into our homes and
shut the door on outdoor life until Spring returns. It seems natural to stay inside during cooler weather, however, it is important that we still enjoy outdoor sunlight for its health benefits, every day.

The sun has gotten a bad reputation over the years. It was worshiped by our ancestors and hailed as the giver of life from the ancients, but we seem to avoid the sun at all costs. We all know that too much sun exposure can be bad for us, and cause skin cancer. However, we are not supposed to avoid it all-together! We still need daily doses of sunlight to keep us healthy and happy. This applies to children and adults. We all need a little sun, every day.

There is an actual disorder that occurs from too little sunlight, called seasonal affective disorder (S.A.D.) This disorder makes people depressed (or SAD), and is linked to a vitamin D deficiency. The UVB waves that we get from the sun create
a reaction in your body that releases vitamin D. Without vitamin D, we can develop brittle bones and teeth. The main function of vitamin D is to create normal blood levels of calcium and phosphorus.

High rates of SAD are in the colder areas of the world, with Alaska being the highest in the U.S., at a rate of 8.9%. In the other colder territories, Finland was reported to have a level of 9.5% of SAD findings. This is a real disorder and can be avoided so easily! Just by getting outside to enjoy the sun, and taking our children outdoors to play, can benefit us all year long.

It is important that we get some sunlight and enjoy it forabout 10-15 minutes per day. For children, sun exposure and a healthy diet can prevent rickets and other diseases related to calcium loss. They need it for normal development.  Since the sun grows
vegetables, it only makes sense that it helps us grow too. We weren’t meant to stay inside all day long.

This season, be sure to make yourself get outdoors. Also, be sure to let your children play outside, too. Even if it’s cold, just bundle
them up and let them go outdoors during the warmest period in the day, for at least 10 minutes. As adults, a short 10 minute walk, sitting on the porch or in an outdoor chair would help us avoid seasonal depression and vitamin D related disorders.

To read more about this, take a look at http://www.health.harvard.edu/fhg/updates/update0604d.shtml

To look at outdoor play systems for children, check out http://www.playnation.com/

More outdoor play accessories for kids, can be seen at: http://www.gorillaplaysets.com/

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