Revisited: The Benefits of Sunshine

The importance of Sunshine on Strong Words by Grace Brown | Photo by  Nik Guiney  on  Unsplash

The importance of Sunshine on Strong Words by Grace Brown | Photo by Nik Guiney on Unsplash

Just go outside. Seriously. 

In big cities like London, even on those rare but beautiful sunny days, we are generally cooped up inside, sitting at our desks.

As humans, we spend so much time indoors that many of us are chronically deficient in Vitamin D.

It is considered so crucial by some experts that professional sports teams are using vitamin D level monitoring as part of their training strategies to help prevent injury and maximise their athletes' efficiency.

What is Vitamin D?

Without vitamin D, the body isn't properly able to absorb calcium and phosphorous. As such, it has also been linked to bone health, immune system-, brain- and nervous system support, regulating insulin, lung function and cardiovascular health. It's even helping the body to fight cancer.

How do we get Vitamin D?

Vitamin D3, the most natural form, is synthesised when UVB light hits the skin. We can also obtain D3 through oil-rich fish like salmon and herring. 

If you want to get deeply scientific, check out this study and this article which I have used for this post.

Supplementation can help, especially for those with really low levels to begin with. Look for Vitamin D + K1 and K2. They come in oral sprays, liquids and capsule forms. Of course, always make sure your supplements are the highest quality, the purest and the most rigorously tested. And don't overdo it. Too much vitamin D can have adverse effects.

The best way to boost your Vitamin D production is with sunshine. Studies have shown that regular 5-10 mins skin exposure to sunlight can do the trick.

These days there are also plenty of fantastic products on the market to help indoor workers, for the winter months, when going outside isn't an option or when there just isn't any sun. Check out "happy lights" in all sorts of forms. Small ones for your desk at work, bigger ones to get you going in the morning. Pop them on for a bit each day and see if your energy improves.

But sunshine and the outdoors has other positive effects, over and above essential Vitamin D production. Relieving stress, calming, clearing the head of all the thought-clutter and generally feeling happier. A few deep breaths outside is all it takes. And best of all - it's totally free.

So go on, take a walk around the block or, better yet, pop yourself down in the park and let that sun hit your skin. Just don't forget your daily sunscreen.

Originally published on Strong Words May 8th, 2017.