It’s now officially summer here in the UK. This brings the longer, sunnier days and the desire to soak up some sunshine and warmth.
Which brings us back to the question:
Is it healthy to be out in the sun?
The answer – YES!
Sunshine has great health benefits, including that it’s the best way to get our vitamin D (but be careful not to burn).
Vitamin D is important for a few reasons, including maintaining healthy bones and teeth, boosting our immune system and it may also protect against a range of conditions such as cancer, type 1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis. It also helps our mental & emotional wellness too. Here’s a recent news article…
It is so beneficial to our health and wellbeing, but I’ve been saying for a long time now that I think that most people are vitamin D deficient. Even in my home country of Australia!
With people spending so much more time indoors, or if we do venture out we cover ourselves in clothing or high SPF sunscreen, our skin just doesn’t get much direct sunlight on it. And that is what we need for our bodies to naturally create vitamin D.
So, here’s your reminder to start topping up your vitamin D levels.
The best way to get your vitamin D is by direct sun on your bare skin. There are a number of factors affecting how much, such as time of day, where you live, colour of your skin, your age etc. The answers are in my previous blog here…
In summary, fifteen minutes of unprotected sun exposure every day is sufficient, plus it provides a positive psychological benefit too. People with darker skin tones take longer to make vitamin D (although they should still be cautious of burning) and the more skin you expose, the less time you need in the sun.
It appears that the time of day is also important. The ‘Shadow Rule’ is a good rule of thumb to help – if your shadow is longer than you are tall, you’re not making much vitamin D.
So, between 11am – 3pm is best but be careful you don’t stay out too long and burn.
Vitamin D Supplements
You can boost your Vitamin D with a supplement if you can’t get direct sunshine. So whether you can’t get outside or it’s winter time, then you should take something to keep your vitamin D levels up.
The best supplement source is oily fish & that’s because it’s Vitamin D3. It’s back to the old fashioned remedy of cod liver oil, but at least you can take a capsule now!
The body primarily uses vitamin D2 (plant-based) and D3, which is found in animal products. The latter is more easily converted in the body, and a recent study found vitamin D3 is twice as effective as D2 in raising overall levels of vitamin D in the body.
Vitamin D3 can also help create calcium and protect against fractures and osteoporosis – so that’s another great reason for women to make sure they keep their levels right.
With summer here, come join us for a wellbeing retreat with yoga outside under the sun. What a great way to top up your Vitamin D level 🙂