It’s no secret that the pull of the Spanish sun for us Brits is one of the major selling points when it comes to moving abroad in the hopes of living in a gentler, warmer climate. The sunshine seems to do wonders for us. But what is really happening to us when we are spending time in the sun, and is it really so good for us after all? Juan Lopez, marketing manager of a local real estate agency in Javea on the Costa Blanca will look at why we seek the sun so much, and why Brits abroad could be on the track to better health and wellbeing for doing so.
The Sun & Mental Health
One of the most fascinating impacts of spending time in a warmer climate is the effect that the sun has on our mental wellbeing. There is a reason why we love our summer holidays abroad so much, and also why many Brits opt to retire or move abroad to Spain or Portugal, for example. Sunlight increases the levels of serotonin in our brain. According to Medical News Today, “Serotonin is an important chemical and a neurotransmitter in the human body. It is believed to help regulate mood and social behaviour, appetite and digestion, sleep, memory, and sexual desire and function.”
Additionally, living in a sunnier climate has been shown to have hugely positive effects on depression, anxiety and those with Seasonal Affective Disorder
According to an article in Forbes which looked at findings from the World Health Organisation, “Getting anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes of sunlight on our arms, hands and face twice or thrice a week is enough to reap the vitamin D-boosting benefits of the sun.” But for half of the year, us Brits will likely do anything to avoid being out in the cold. With our summers only lasting a short time, it could be that we’re missing out on the benefits of vitamin D without supplementing properly. So, what are those expats abroad really reaping when it comes to vitamin D, anyway? Well, according to medical research the D vitamin helps our bodies absorb calcium, building stronger bones, it also helps our muscles to move, our nerves to function properly and helps our immune system fight of viruses and bacteria. So, chances are, the more time we have to spend absorbing vitamin D from the sunshine, the better for our physical wellbeing.
Too Much Exposure
The only danger with the sun comes when we spend too much time in it without the proper protection from UV rays. UV rays from the sun are can cause sunburn, heat rashes, deeper wrinkles in the skin and even skin cancer. So, protective sun creams, skincare and spending time in the shade are all musts when it comes to spending time in the warmth of the Spanish sun, for example. It’s also important that we remember to stay hydrated when spending time in a warmer climate. All of this being said, all it takes is a little consideration towards skin protection, shade and hydration to avoid the negative affects of the sun. The great thing about the sunshine is that it can be enjoyed from indoors too, as even the look of a sunny day can bring up people’s moods significantly.
There are a number of reasons why we seek warmer climates. But spending time in the sun has to be top of the list for most Brits choosing to move abroad. And the evidence is clear: the sun can have significantly positive effects on our emotional and physical wellbeing. All we need to remember are the dangers around spending too much time in it, and stocking up on sun cream.