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For years we have been told to cover up in the sun to cut the risk of getting skin cancer. But now it seems that a little bit of sunshine on your body is actually good for you. Studies have shown that a sensible amount of sun reduces your risk of several cancers and other serious health conditions.

And it’s all thanks to vitamin D, which is made by our bodies through the action of the sun’s UVB rays on our skin. Professor Michael Holick, of Boston University School of Medicine and author of The UV Advantage (I-Books, #6.99), says: “We get about 90 to 95 percent of our vitamin D from the sun. It is essential for absorbing calcium, keeping our bones healthy, and for protecting against serious chronic diseases later in life such as osteoporosis, Type II diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and many common cancers.” He advises that we should go out in the sun without sunblock for between five and 15 minutes a day, at least three times a week in spring and summer, to boost our vitamin D levels. However, any longer than 15 min it is advised that sunblock should be liberally applied.

We here at Destiny love being out on the water and love being in the sunshine. Here are five benefits of regular time spent in the sun.

1. It cheers you up!!

SUNSHINE boosts levels of serotonin – the body’s natural happy hormone. That’s why we tend to feel happier and more energetic when the sun shines. Regular sun can stave off moderate depression, particularly if combined with exercise, such as a walk in the park. It’s also been shown that exercising outdoors creates more endorphins in the body than exercising indoors.

2. Beats SAD Seasonal Affective Disorder

(SAD) – or the winter blues – is a depression specifically caused by lack of sunlight. Lightboxes can be used to treat it, although increased exposure to natural sunlight is more beneficial. Get out for an hour’s walk in the morning during autumn and winter months, and sit outside for 15 minutes a day in summer.

3. Relieves aches and pains

Being out in the sun helps to warm the body’s muscles and eases stiffness, reducing the pain caused by inflammatory conditions such as arthritis.

4. Gives you more energy

MELATONIN also regulates sleep, so having lower levels of this hormone in your body gives you more get up and go. This is why you need less sleep in summer but still feel livelier. Plus, being woken by natural light rather than an alarm clock helps you feel more positive.

5. Boosts your immune system

SUNLIGHT encourages the production of white blood cells, which help to boost your immune system and fight infection.

NEVER overdo the sun – burning and excessive exposure will increase your risk of skin cancer. Cover up or apply sunscreen (minimum SPF15) after your initial vitamin D-boosting burst.

So there it is folks. While you never want to go overboard studies show that sunshine is good for the body and we also believe the soul.

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