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Think Spring!

Today is the first day of spring. Signs of spring fever are everywhere. The weather is warmer in most parts of North America, and soon winter will be a distant memory. Basketball fans are engulfed in March Madness. Baseball enthusiasts are enjoying spring training, and the official season begins in a couple of weeks. Spring is the time of year when nudists enjoy barbecues, outdoor sports, and other outdoor events at their favorite AANR club or public lands locale or maybe a backyard party with friends. Nudists everywhere are enjoying that most popular of nudist activities–sunbathing. Nothing feels better after a cold winter spent indoors—both emotionally and physically– than the warmth of the sun on your skin. What surer signs of spring are there than those?

Today, most doctors agree that Vitamin D is an essential vitamin that can prevent cancer and autoimmune diseases and help patients with a variety of other diseases that range from depression to osteoporosis. Many who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and other types of depression do better with light therapy treatments. Low sun exposure has long been suggested as one factor in contracting multiple sclerosis, and research is being done that suggests Vitamin D may actually lessen the severity of MS.

Vitamin D is found in very few foods, and although supplements are available, the best way to get enough Vitamin D is through exposure to sunlight. Studies have shown that the body automatically regulates how much Vitamin D it makes from sunlight. Recommended exposure is limited to 20 minutes each day before 10 am or after 2 pm. But it doesn’t stop with just catching a few rays. For the most beneficial effect, the oil on the skin should remain on the skin for several hours after exposure to sunlight.

However you choose to spend time in the sun this spring and summer, and whatever the reason, don’t forget the sunblock. Most nudists are mindful of the importance of using sun protection when spending long amounts of time in the sun. Sun damage is preventable.

Karen Bauer, wife of AANR legal counsel Jawn Bauer and part owner of Fern Hills Club in Indiana, agreed to share her experience resulting from sun damage. Here is her story:

“I am 51 and have been a nudist since I was six years old. I can remember all the sunburns I used to get as a child. The skin on my nose would just peel off during the summer and everyone thought it was so cute. I have been going to my dermatologist for many years to get checked. Two years ago, during one of my visits, a dark spot on my back looked suspicious so they removed it. It was basal cell carcinoma. This is the earliest stage of skin cancer and the one that is easiest to treat. They just remove it!

“In February I went for another yearly checkup and asked them to remove a small mole on the back of my neck. It ended up being basal cell carcinoma so they removed it. My doctor recommends using a good sunscreen. And, of course, avoid the sun during the peak hours of 10 am and 2 pm. But they don’t tell me to stay out of the sun. Just be careful not to burn. The problems I am having now are due to my childhood and early 20’s when I didn’t realize the damage the sun could do. I don’t think there is any question that the sun in moderation is healthy because of all that Vitamin D. I know it makes me feel good to be in the sun. But we have to be smart, like getting yearly checkups. I think this is the smartest thing nudists can do. This type of cancer is easy to remove and will not cause problems if it is caught early.”

So whatever your reasons for spending time in the sun this spring and summer, whether it be for health reasons or just because it feels so good, be smart. Use sunscreen and don’t forget your yearly skin check-up. But most of all have fun and enjoy the war

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