Just spending time outside in the sun is good for your health, as UV rays are converted into vitamin D in the body. Vitamin D plays an important role in strengthening bones and preventing depression. However, 93 percent of Koreans have insufficient levels of vitamin D, mainly due to lack of exposure to the sun's rays.
In winter, at latitudes above 35 degrees north, UV rays hardly reach the Earth's surface, limiting people's exposure to them and hindering vitamin D production. As Korea is located between 33 and 38 degrees north of the equator, that means people living here should engage in sunbathing from spring to autumn.
It is advised to go out in short sleeves or short pants and bask in the sun for 15 minutes at least three times a week. Around 11 a.m. or 3-4 p.m. are the best times, when UV rays are not too strong. Moderation is advised because exposing the skin to strong sunlight too often or too long can cause aging of the skin and, in rare cases, skin cancer.
Sunscreen is not recommended as it blocks UV rays.
But these days air pollution is another factor that makes many people refrain from going out to get sunlight. When outdoor activities are limited, consuming milk, eggs and salmon may be helpful as they contain vitamin D, though only in trace amounts. If that is not practical, taking supplements containing 800-1,000 IU of vitamin D is recommended.