Live long and prosper on the Costa del Sol

WHEN it comes to life in the sun, it doesn’t get much better than the Costa del Sol.

The clue is in the name and it’s no surprise that thousands flock to the coast to live and holiday every year. The sun is almost always shining, with temperatures rarely dipping below 10 degrees, even in winter. People can truly live a life of sun, sea and sand all year round.

With such a fantastic climate, outdoor life becomes the norm, so it´s not too difficult to lead a healthy lifestyle. Let´s face it; nobody wants to exercise in the pouring rain. It´s much more enjoyable to cycle down the paseo, hike through the beautiful mountains or swim in the sea. The weather on the Costa del Sol facilitates good habits which can keep you happy and healthy for longer.

So many aspects of life on the coast contribute to your overall happiness. The vitamin D you take from the sunshine alone can keep you in high spirits. In fact, vitamin D deficiency has even been linked with prolonged illnesses, but a healthy supply can promote bone growth and prevent serious ailments.

Sun exposure has been proven to lower blood pressure, improve brain function, and ease depression. It can even improve your quality of sleep! Sunlight can help to maintain a normal circadian rhythm, helping you to feel tired and drowsy at bedtime.

It´s not just the sun that makes the Costa del Sol such a fantastic place to live a healthy lifestyle. Everyone talks about the benefits of eating like a Spaniard. The Mediterranean diet is made up of fresh, local foods and encourages the use of fish, fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, nuts, and olive oil.

Olive oil is high in antioxidants and may actually be able to slow down the aging of the heart. Researchers have found that it also contributes to the regulation of metabolic syndromes such as obesity, high blood pressure, and high blood sugar, which can all lead to type 2 diabetes, heart attacks and strokes.

Purchasing and eating the fresh and locally grown fruit and vegetables is the best way to ensure no nasty chemicals or preservatives are in your food. Nutritional value is higher and everything tastes more delicious. Scientists believe that this style of eating may lower cholesterol and could even prevent brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.

The Mediterranean diet is rich in fibre and fatty acids which can keep your body running smoothly.

It may be a little stereotypical, but Spanish scientists have proven once and for all that the siesta is good for you. A short nap after lunch can improve your alertness and memory, as well as reducing stress. Their findings showed that the siesta is actually part of the body´s natural daily cycle, and missing it could be detrimental to our health. However, it should be noted that this isn´t a license to sleep the afternoon away! A siesta should last no longer than half an hour, without entering deep sleep. Evidently, the Spanish have got it right with this laid back approach to life.

By immersing yourself in the Spanish way of life and the sheer variety and wealth of culture available, you can live a more fulfilled, happy and healthy life. Who can deny the appeal of spending your time off work, school, or in retirement wandering along beaches or through picturesque white villages?  

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