Spending time in the sun makes most of us feel better within ourselves. Although we are cautioned about protecting our skin, the vitamin D sunshine creates in our skin is vital for our wellbeing.
But it isn’t just the sunshine that helps us, being outdoors in the fresh air, surrounded by nature are perfect antidotes to stressful modern life. So why is spending time in the sun and the outdoors good for us?
#1 Stress relieving
Whether you choose to relax on a wooden bench for half an hour or so, or spend time in your garden weeding and sowing, being outdoors in the sun is stress-relieving.
High levels of stress are associated with depression, obesity and high blood pressure. Studies have found that when we spend time outdoors, the stress hormone cortisol decreases in the bloodstream, meaning we feel less anxious and stressed.
#2 Creates vitamin D
Vitamin D is essential for bone health. In the UK, we soak up the majority of the sunshine we need to help generate this vitamin under the skins from March to October.
Staying indoors for long periods can lead to all kinds of health problems and so a daily dose of pleasant sun is ideal for getting your vitamin D levels back to where they should be.
But, burning your skin or exposing it too quickly to harsh sunlight can lead to other health problems, with skin cancer being one of them. We need to understand how to stay safe in the sun but why vitamin D is important to health.
#3 Stronger immunity
A healthy immune system means a healthy body but, with so many pressures, both emotional and physical weighing down on us, our immune system is under constant attack.
Healthy doses of sunshine and the outdoors can be the very thing that our immune system needs. And there is evidence to prove it.
A 2010 study in Japan found that adults who enjoyed a three-day trip into the forest developed more white blood cells and that these elevated levels remained in their bloodstream for up to 30 days afterwards.
White blood cells are the crucial part of a healthy immune system so when you spend time outdoors, whether it is in your garden or hiking up a mountain, not only do you get a fabulous dose of vitamin D you also strengthen your immune system too.
#4 A longer attention span
Do you find it hard to focus and stay focused on the task at hand? If you do, you could have a deficit in exposure to the natural environment.
Again, there is evidence to prove that being outdoors improves focus, such as a 2009 study into children with attention deficit disorders. Spending 20 minutes at the local park elevated the attention span of those being studied.
And the same is true for adults. So the next time you have a problem that needs thinking through, enjoy your garden and everything that nature has to offer from your garden bench to find the solution.
#5 A healthier diet, possibly
Spending time in the fresh air, whether that is being active or enjoying the tranquillity of the garden, leaves is feeling hungry.
Not only that, gardening keeps us active but also helps us to work up an appetite which in turn can lead to us to making better choices when it comes to food.
And what better way of encouraging the whole family to eat healthier after a day in the sun by growing some of your own fruit and vegetables?
#6 Fight ‘nature deficit disorder’
It is not a recognised medical disorder but increasingly, more and more experts from the world of medicine and science are talking about the negative aspect of our children – and us! – from spending so much time glued to digital devices.
We are all guilty of it. We may decide just to check Facebook or take a look at Twitter, or do some online research, for a minute or two but before we know it, we have spent yet another hour glued to a screen.
Spending time in the sun and outdoors has so many physical and emotional benefits that it is surprising that we don’t do it more often.
From making the sunshine vitamin to allowing the stresses and staring of modern life to drain away, how much time do you spend in the great outdoors? When the sun shines do you take advantage of it or stay indoors?
From relaxing on wooden benches to enjoying a hike in the hill, Sloane & Sons have long-believed the power and value of spending time outdoors.