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Catching Tans instead of Colds

18/09/2018

Catching Tans instead of Colds

Health living in Spain

I am sitting on the couch in Spain, watching the news. They are giving us a weather overview, explaining that there has been exactly one day with rain. As I let this information sink in I think of my friends who are still based in Amsterdam, making their way to work. I remember myself two years ago:

'I am waiting at the tram station. Three layers of clothes plus a huge scarf and some gloves are apparently not enough to protect me from the wind that slices straight through my bones. I am hopping from one foot to another in a weak attempt to keep me warm. I am on my way to the sunbed studio, which according to the experts is not good for my skin. However, when I think of how cramped my shoulders are, and the fact that I can barely remember what the sun looks like, I decide that a bit of UV won’t be that bad. I'm as pale as a ghost and my lack of vitamin D has never been worse. Add to this my permanent winter cold, and I have the perfect reason for some fake sunlight.'

Back to the here and now, still in front of the TV. We have switched the channel to a Spanish one, checking out the weather forecast. Sun, sun and more sun is expected.

According to the World Health Organisation, the Northern part of the Costa Blanca is one of the healthiest places to live in the world. Sunny Jávea has a unique microclimate, as it’s located in between mountains and right by the sea, at the furthest possible spot in the east. These combined factors result in mild winters, summers that are not too hot and clean air coming from the Mediterranean Sea. The sun appears more than 300 days a year and the humidity in the air is relatively low. This makes a huge difference for people who suffer from arthritis, breathing and skin problems, for example. The sunlight provides us with plenty of vitamin D and the temperature keeps our muscles flexible. We are able to spend our days outside, even in winter, keeping us active and in better condition. Carpets and closed windows are usually unnecessary here, benefiting those who are sensitive to dust and often suffer from allergic reactions. The sun and clean air keep our skin glowing and shining and then we’re not even talking about the amount of serotonin being released in our brains, keeping us happy and preventing (Winter) depression.

I notice these differences every day, as my shoulders are not cramped anymore, my face isn't ghost-like and I can’t remember the last time I caught a cold.