To help you enjoy the increasing sunshine and get the most out of daylight savings I recently shared some suggestions for outdoor activities. If you or your loved ones need further convincing to get out and soak up those golden rays, I’ve got you covered.
Below are some of the benefits and tips for getting out on sunny days (and how to do it safely) that will have you saying, “Beam me up sunshine!” in no time.
Getting outside typically improves mood and supports emotional well-being. This is because sunlight helps boost a chemical in your brain called serotonin. Serotonin – known to be a mood stabiliser – can help you feel calm, positive, and focused. Next time you need a boost, try going outside for a walk instead of drinking that extra cup of coffee.
Not only does serotonin help manage your mood, it also helps regulate your sleep and suppresses melatonin production (which is generally produced as the day gets darker to aid sleep). That’s why getting outside, particularly in the early morning sunlight is a great way to ensure a good night’s sleep. And an easy way to set up your bedtime ritual for success!
Sunlight can also strengthen bones. It does this by aiding the production of vitamin D which helps the body absorb calcium from the food you eat.
A little bit of light can make your body stronger. It’s been reported that sunlight can help improve your immunity by directly activating immunity cells. That vitamin D production I mentioned earlier isn’t just good for your bones, it also supports your immunity!
We’ve all heard about (and maybe even experienced) the winter weight gain. A study found that fat cells below the skin’s surface shrunk when exposed to light. According to one source, to maximise these benefits you need to get out in the sun for 20 to 30 minutes a day between 8 am to 12 pm.
So, what are you waiting for? There are many great benefits to being outside when the sun is shining!
Understanding the UV Index
Enjoying sunny days safely starts with an understanding of the UV index. The UV index is a universal measure of the ultraviolet radiation produced by the sun. The scale ranges from 0 to 11+. When the UV Index is 3 or greater, it can damage your skin and cause skin cancer. You can download the sun smart app to help determine the UV Index each day.
The best time to catch rays
During summer it’s recommended that you spend time outside at the start or end of the day when the UV index is not so high. Additionally, in summer (when the UV index is 3 or above) you only need to spend just a few minutes outdoors on most days of the week to get the necessary vitamin D. For the colder months, it’s best to spend time outdoors in the middle of the day to make the most of the sunshine.
Being sun safe
When the UV Index is 3 or greater, it’s important to remember to protect your skin and follow sun safety recommendations including wearing a hat, protective clothing, and sunglasses as well as applying sunscreen in line with recommended guidelines.
Now that you understand the many benefits of being outside, enjoy chasing the sun (safely)!
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