Opening to the light

This last week in Melbourne has been truly glorious. After a wet, cold and bleak winter, we are so ready to receive the wonderful warmth and energy of the sun. The wattle is out, blossoms budding and the magnificent magnolias, remind us of the beauty that  nature provides us in Spring. As the warmer weather continues, finding ways to enjoy the sun is so beneficial to our body physically and it lifts out spirits. Here are some really simple ways to get a little more light into your life:

~ a relaxed walk by water (away from traffic, noise and busyness)

~ when driving, park a little further from your destination and walk the rest of the way

~ spend time in your garden

~ if you live close shops, walk to get simple items like bread, milk, papers and magazines

~ go for a stroll at the beach

~ enjoy our states beautiful gardens such as the Royal Botanical gardens or the National Rhododendron gardens (see link below for more details)

http://parkweb.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/315705/Park-note-National-Rhododendron-Gardens-spring.pdf

FINDING THE BALANCE 

In winter as our vitamin D levels tend to drop, it is worthwhile considering healthy exposure to the sun. Vitamin D is needed to form and maintain healthy, strong bones and decrease joint pain. A balance is required between avoiding an increase in the risk of skin cancer by excessive sun exposure and achieving enough sun exposure to maintain adequate vitamin D levels.

Bone and musculoskeletal health

There is good evidence that vitamin D is beneficial for maintaining musculoskeletal health and reducing the risk of bone fractures. The human body needs vitamin D to regulate calcium levels in the blood and to make and maintain healthy, strong bones and for this reason it is important to maintain adequate vitamin D levels all year round.

Vitamin D deficiency in infants and children can cause rickets, characterised by muscle and bone weakness and bone deformities. Adults with low vitamin D are at risk of bone and joint pain, muscle and bone weakness, osteoporotic fractures and falls.

Sun protection and your risk of vitamin D deficiency

There are times during the day or year when it is safe to go outside without the need for sun protection. This would normally be when the UV index is less than 3, such as in the early morning or late afternoon or during winter in the southern regions of Australia. As a result, people in southern regions may not need to be concerned about sun protection from May to August unless they are at high altitudes, near highly reflective surfaces such as snow or water or unless they have a high risk of skin cancer .

In Melbourne, the UV Index in August is 2 and into September, 4. This is a wonderful time to get outside and safely enjoy the benefits of the sun.

The information provided above has been APPROVED BY THE AUSTRALIAN AND NEW ZEALAND BONE AND MINERAL SOCIETY, OSTEOPOROSIS AUSTRALIA, THE AUSTRALASIAN COLLEGE OF DERMATOLOGISTS AND THE CANCER COUNCIL AUSTRALIA

For more details refer to the full article at :

http://www.cancer.org.au//File/PolicyPublications/PSRisksBenefitsSunExposure03May07.pdf

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