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The Importance of Sunshine Vitamin (Vitamin D)

When speaking about outdoor play for kids, most people will cite physical fitness, mental well-being and interaction as its main benefits, but what most parents would often overlook or be completely unaware of are the nutritional benefits from sunshine. Now that we live in this part of the world where sunshine is abundant (and even scorching!), let’s look at how good sunshine is to our body, so that we could plan our kids’ playtime outdoors to maximize its benefits to their little growing bodies.

  1. Sunshine assists the natural production of Vitamin D in the body

Vitamin D helps convert calcium into a form that is usable for the body, so kids will need ample Vitamin D to help their bones grow bigger and stronger since calcium is a crucial component in it! While calcium can be obtained from other dietary sources, it is Vitamin D that will help break calcium up so that it can be properly absorbed by the body. Therefore, it’s best to expose the kids to the early morning sun (when the heat is less scorching) for at least 15 minutes so that they get maximum goodness while also giving their little bodies much needed exercise.

  1. Outdoor play enhances production of serotonin

Our body releases a substance called serotonin to relieve stress naturally from within. In fact, anti-depressant medication is actually designed to enhance the body’s ability to produce more serotonin, so why not let the kids have a stroll under the sun, or even have some fun and games so that they feel happy and jovial? In feeling so, serotonin is naturally developed from within, and it’ll keep them happy and de-stressed at all times. This is further backed up by science where it has been shown that outdoor activity does help reduce activity in a part of the brain that is associated with stress.

  1. Sunshine improves health and the immune system

While it’s well-documented what outdoor activities under the sun does for kids’ bodily functions, but having sunshine (especially the morning sun) actually makes kids more active and less lethargic compared to being indoors where sunshine is limited. Therefore, there is a domino effect of bringing the kids out for fun and games outdoors in the morning, from building up Vitamin D, increasing serotonin to feel de-stressed, down to the enhancing of their bodily functions, i.e. bones and muscles and yes, all these aids their mental development too, as a healthy body and a happy mind will almost always produce better-rounded kids.

So there, now that the benefits of sunshine and outdoor play have all been laid bare, isn’t it time to plan a trip outdoors with the kids the next morning? Well, concerns of the virus are all valid but it doesn’t mean that the outdoors is a total no-go. There are ways to keep the little ones as safe as they can be and still have them enjoy the fun and games out there. Even schools, when they finally reopen, should gradually allow PE and outdoor sports be played so that the students can fully enjoy their time there.

Let’s all encourage our kids to play outdoors and educate them about the goodness of sunlight to them inside out, and the other bodily benefits that they can get with outdoor play. With this, they will be able to better embrace it instead of being all cooped up indoors and become dull and unproductive.