Sunshine is the new black

Warmer weather is officially here, and sunlight lingers a little longer each day.

For most of us this means a welcome expansion of our post-office-hours social calendar. However the warmer climate can provide a more profound benefit to our overall feeling of happiness.

Health experts are increasingly spruiking the benefits of time spent outdoors, and the importance of making time in the sun a daily habit, particularly for those who spend more time inside than out. It appears sunshine, taken in small, regular doses, has some rather magical benefits. One of the most beneficial is the supply of vitamin D, sometimes referred to as the “sunshine hormone”.

Vitamin D is known to regulate the expression of genes that influence your immune system to attack and destroy bacteria and viruses – basically it helps you feel a lot less miserable each time you have a cold or flu. It can also help with osteoporosis, depression and even heart attacks.

If ‘must think more creatively’ was a reoccurring theme at your last performance review, the solution could be as simple as a walk in the park. Spending time outdoors can improve problem solving, and boost your creativity and focus. One American study found walking increased 81 percent of participants’ creativity, but walking outside produced “the most novel and highest quality analogies.” Although we do not condone using your newly-formed open-mindedness on ‘creative accounting’, fresh thinking is always great for career advancement, deal negotiation, and at the very least, creating the most interesting PowerPoint presentations in the office.

As little as five minutes outside is all it can take to get a mood-boosting effect. Researchers found that people experienced the largest boosts to their mood and self-esteem after spending just five minutes outdoors doing some form of light exercise, like walking. So it seems the short stroll to The Canteen for that afternoon piccolo can provide just as much of a kick as the caffeine itself. 

For workers and residents of Barangaroo, Wulugul Walk, and the extraordinary Barangaroo Reserve are two perfect, and incredibly handy locations to spend time in the sun. Whether it’s an easy stroll along the foreshore, or a lunch-time jog to the park, a healthier, happier you is waiting, outside.