One of the obvious concerns any parent would logically have of their athlete, regardless of age, is the amount of time spent outdoors in the sun.
Whether sunbathing to intentionally work on their “tan” or simply playing outside with their friends, being in the sun has tremendous benefits for us all.
The trick is the delicate balance between taking in the sun’s beneficial rays and approaching sun exposure levels which could be deemed harmful.
Vitamin D – often referred to as “the sunshine vitamin” – is crucial for the health of our bodies.
Vitamin D is made into cholesterol as our skin is exposed to the sun.
Vitamin D’s main job is to help the body absorb calcium from one’s intestines.
As I believe we are all well aware, TOO much exposure to the sun can have extraordinarily negative effects to one’s health.
Short term adverse phenomena include sunburn, dehydration, and heat exhaustion or heatstroke.
Long term risks include prematurely aged skin, wrinkles, and precancerous lesions.
In addition to being a terrific resource of Vitamin D, however, there are quite a number of other terrific benefits of the right dose of sun exposure!
Stress reduction, a strengthened immune system, a combatant against depression, improved sleep, and even a longer life (based on the findings in a Journal of Internal Medicine study, which followed 30,000 Swedish women for about 20 years and found that those who spent more time in the sun lived an average of 6 months to 2 years longer!!)!
Vitamin D does more than help with calcium absorption (which in and of itself leads to stronger bones).
Vitamin D enhances your body’s overall immune system.
There are various studies out there that show Vitamin D helps fight the flu, lowers the chances of getting Multiple Sclerosis, heads off heart failure, helps protect against the development of certain Cancers, as well as aids in helping to maintain a healthy weight.
The suggested daily Vitamin D intake for ages one to seventy years old is 600 IU.
What this translates to is a person with lighter skin spending about 15 minutes per day in the sun and a person with darker skin spending up to a couple of hours in the sun in order to meet this daily recommendation.
The farther away from the equator that you live, the more exposure you are going to need in-line with the natural tone of your skin color in order to absorb the most proper amount of daily sunlight.
To make sure that you are taking in the proper amount, there is plenty of guidance online which can help.
Most people seem to enjoy the warm (though perhaps not TOO warm!) rays of sun against their skin no matter what time of year this sweet, natural indulgence may grace itself upon our bodies.
Knowing that there are some tremendous health effects which can be realized if we take in these pleasant sunny rays from our personal star in the sky, only adds to the enjoyable feeling of being able to get out and enjoy the sun at any opportunity we have to do so. Cheer Up Athletics