Exposure to natural sunlight may be just as important for leading a healthy lifestyle as nutrition and exercise.
People are spending less and less time outdoors. According to a study conducted by the University of Alicante, people spend less than 10% of their total waking time outdoors. Scientists from the university refer to this as “natural light deficiency.”
The consequences of a lack of natural sunlight range from not being able to fight off a virus, to vitamin D and nitric oxide deficiency, which can each lead to the onset of diseases such as Alzheimer’s, dementia and obesity, respectively.
Similarly, a lack of exposure to sunlight can cause seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a disorder related to depression that is produced by a change in weather. This affects people’s levels of serotonin; a brain chemical called a neurotransmitter that affects mood.
The recommended amount of time to spend in natural sunlight is half an hour. One way to do this is to play an outdoor sport, which can improve mood and is also a good way to spend time in nature, get fresh air and benefit from the sun’s rays.
Related article: Five ways to exercise outdoors