I’ve completely forgotten what it’s like to have to don the layers before getting on my bike to cycle my short journey to work every day. My usual routine of wondering if I’m going to get soaked or blown off my bike has been replaced with spending that precious time in the morning slapping on the sunscreen and wondering if I can really cycle in a pair of flip flops!
Summer is certainly here, and aside from the drought like conditions – my grass is yellow, my paddling pool is dry and as for my plant pots – I am basking in the upsides of this unusual phenomenon we are experiencing. A proper summer!
Have you noticed how happy we all are? It’s amazing the impact the weather has on our wellbeing and after suffering through the long dark, cold winter we are bounding around with energy and positivity that we never knew we had in us. Well, when we’re not too hot of course. There are downsides too but I’m just going to focus on the upside for now and look at some of the benefits of the SUN.
1. Vitamin D, also known as the Sunshine Vitamin, is produced when the skin is exposed to sunlight. It has multiple roles in the body, helping to:
- Maintain the health of bones and teeth particularly in infants, young children and the elderly.
- Support the health of the immune system, brain, and nervous system.
- Regulate insulin levels and aid diabetes
- Support lung function and cardiovascular health.
- Influence the expression of genes involved in cancer development.
- Act as a mood enhancer helping to control depression
- Aid weight loss through increased energy levels
2. Sunlight has a beneficial effect on skin disorders, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), sun exposure might help treat several skin conditions, such as psoriasis, eczema, jaundice and acne.
3. Exposure to sunlight is thought to increase the brain’s release of a hormone called serotonin. Serotonin is associated with boosting mood and helping a person feel calm and focused. Low levels of serotonin are associated with a higher risk of major depression with seasonal pattern(SAD). This is a form of depression triggered by the changing seasons.
4. The heat of the sun can help reduce the pain caused by inflammatory conditions such as arthritis by warming up the body’s muscles and easing stiffness.
On top of all of these benefits, the warm sunny weather is encouraging people to get out, get active and get together. We tend to eat healthier as the body craves fresh lighter foods such as salads and of course the occasional ice cream, all adds to an increase in our wellbeing.
I for one will be savouring these moments. I do worry about the adverse effects, there is no doubt we will be paying a price for the current run of sunny weather as farmers struggle to maintain crop yields and manage livestock. Let it rain at night!
Keep safe – Slip, Slop, Slap! Slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen and slap on a hat.
Ingrid O’Sullivan, Operations Manager