Source of bliss – the Sun
Why do rays of sunshine create happiness within us? This is easy to explain. On the one hand, our mood is closely linked to sunlight, on the other hand the sun’s rays ensure numerous essential basic functions in our body. Daylight releases beta-endorphin, so-called endogenous happiness hormones, which relax us, ensure greater well-being, reduce stress and have a pain-relieving effect. The sun’s rays have a positive influence on our inner life and ensure a balanced mood.
Furthermore sunlight supports the natural circadian rhythm. At dusk we are awakened by the sunlight, thereby releasing serotonin and in the evening, when it gets dark, the hormone melatonin is released, which in turn ensures restful sleep. Many processes in our everyday life are therefore influenced by light and darkness, and the sun sets the pace. It is therefore important that you provide your body with enough daylight to achieve and maintain a healthy rhythm, hormone balance, sleep and body temperature.
The importance of Vitamin D
Time and again we read about vitamin D, how immensely important it is for our body, that we can only absorb it in small amounts through food and how important it is for our mental and physical health. Basically, it is not a vitamin, but a precursor to a hormone and helps strengthen our muscles and bones, regulate the mineral balance and ensures a healthy metabolism and a strong immune system. We can get a maximum of ten percent of the vitamin D we need through our diet. Therefore, get out in the sun and sunbathe – unprotected – (more on this in the key facts). In fact, it is the UV-B rays, which convert the cholesterol in our skin into the necessary vitamin D. The best time to soak up these UV-B rays is at midday, when the sun is at its highest (around 1pm in summer), and at the right angle. Meaning without sunscreen, unfiltered and with the appropriate intensity directly on our skin.
Since sunbathing is not always possible or depends heavily on the seasons and weather conditions, there are ways to remedy this. For instance, vitamin D supplements can be taken in the cold season with less daylight. It is advisable to discuss all the details with your GP. An infrared cabin or lamp is just as helpful. These rays ensure better blood circulation, relieve pain and can repair damage to our cells or prevent new damage. This ensures better wound healing and as a result a stronger immune system. Despite vitamin D supplements or ‘‘artificial‘‘ infrared rays, it is advisable to go out in the sun again and again – after all, this also gets our circulation going. And what could be nicer than exercising in the fresh air? You will experience exactly this wonderful combination on our individual walking holidays. The most beautiful travel destinations where you can soak up the sun all year round are presented to you further below.
Sunbathing as a balancing act
So what exactly is sunbathing about and how can you find a good balance for our skin between ‘‘healthy‘‘ and ‘‘unhealthy‘‘? It is clear that invisible UV radiation is the main cause of skin cancer and that excessive UV light can damage our eyes. On the other hand, according to a study by the Karolinska-Institute near Stockholm, people who avoid the sun are more at risk of dying. Now it is important to find a healthy balance between sunbathing and avoiding the sun. Basically, it can be stated that we shoud stay in the sun as long as we find it comfortable and pay attention to our personal perception. If it gets too hot, you should definitely switch to shade. The individual skin type also plays an important role. How long you can be exposed to the sun (unprotected) depends entirely on your skin type and genetic background.
Key-facts for the right amount of sun exposure
- Sunbathing regularly, without sunscreen in the right amount, is important for being able to produce vitamin D.
- However, this should be done in moderation. Depending on the skin type, it is advisable to expose your skin to direct sunlight for five to fifteen minutes three times a week.
- Ideally without sunglasses if you are not blinded by snow or the beach, as the light signals reach our brain directly via the eyes.
- If you have not been in the sun for weeks, you should not sunbath excessively right at the beginning of your holiday. In this short time, the body cannot produce enough vitamin D for the winter months anyway. Therefore, get out into the fresh air regularly and expose yourself to the sun for short periods of time. Then think about applying sunscreen.
- Beware of sunbathing when jet lagged. Did you know that when we are exposed to the sun, some of our skin cells are still asleep when we have jet lag? Therefore, be careful with jet lag and try and stay in the shade for the first day.
The most beautiful year-round hiking destinations in the sun
If you spend a certain amount of time outdoors every day, you not only replenish your vitamin D reserves, but also strengthen your immune system and enjoy numerous physical and psychological benefits with continous exercise. Soaking up the sun and being active is possible on our selected hiking holidays all year round. Here the glorious rays of sunshine ensure plenty of feel-good moments even in the gray winter months. The fantastically diverse Canaries are particularly popular winter retreats. You hike towards the sun in the Walking Paradise Tenerife, on our hiking tour La Palma, on El Hierro or on our hiking holiday on Lanzarote. In Portugal too you get to hike on the sunny side of Europe. Whether hiking around Madeira with Charm, on the Algarve Hiking Rally or the Algarve Coastal Walk – there is a great hiking atmosphere here. On the Spanish Balearic island of Mallorca, fantastic hiking holidays in winter are waiting for you – uplifted mood included. Whichever sunny travel destination you choose, the warm rays of the sun will provide wonderful bliss moments for both your body and soul.