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In Australia we have been taught to fear the sun, but some sun exposure is essential to our health. Winter is a great time to get out and take a short sun break. Here are some great health benefits of a short, 10 – 15 minute, sun break.
1 Vitamin D. Sunshine kicks off a metabolic reaction in our bodies that produces Vitamin D. You only need 10-15 minutes of sunshine to achieve up to 90% of your daily Vitamin D requirement. Vitamin D helps protect against disease, can slow the ageing process and improve bone health.
2. Energy. Sunlight can improve your energy levels. When your eyes detect light, it starts a chain reaction to release cortisol, increasing your metabolism. Which definitely explains why we have more energy on sunny days, and just want to curl up in a blanket on gloomy days. Or at least I do any way.
4. Better mood. Sunlight triggers the release of serotonin, boosting mood, and helping you feel clam and focused. Increasing serotonin levels can also help to combat depression.
3. Improved sleep. Research has shown that going outside for 15 minutes in the morning, can help your body clock to regulate melatonin production, the hormone that makes you sleepy. By going outside in the morning in the light, you turn melatonin production off, so your body clock can turn it on again when it gets dark at night.
4. Healthier weight. Researchers have shown that sunshine helps release a protein (nitric oxide) which can slow the development of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Now we know we need a sun break, how can I get one? Take a walk, do some gardening, read a book outside, throw the ball with the kids, or walk the dog. Even hanging the washing on the line counts for sun exposure 🙂
Remember we are only talking about a sun break and not sun burn. Even in winter, being outside for long hours between 10am and 4 pm when the sun is overhead, can easily lead to sun burn. You should also take your skin type into consideration when working out how long a sun break to take, ie those with red hair tend to have fairer skin and burn more readily.
So enjoy our winter sun and reap the benefits of a sun break!
Photo by Ricardo Esquivel from Pexels