There is nothing like a walk around the lake to clear the cobwebs. When it’s a day as beautiful as this one, we eschew the gym and head to Reeds Lake for a five mile hike. Or for those residents who are not quite so energetic, a one mile stroll and a bench sit (to think great thoughts). No matter the level of fitness, it is important to get out in the fresh air and soak up the sun. Especially in the winter in a northern clime.
Vitamin D Deficiency on the Rise
Vitamin D was always known to play a role in strong bones and teeth (it helps the body utilize calcium), but research has linked low vitamin D levels with obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune disease, osteoporosis and cancer. Vitamin D levels can become depleted without enough sunshine – it’s called the “sunshine vitamin” after all. And (get this) slathering on sunscreen prohibits the body from making vitamin D.
One theory for a recent rise in vitamin D deficiency is that everyone slaps on the UVB blocking sunscreen these days. These same UVB rays block vitamin D, and UVB rays must reach the skin to produce the sunshine vitamin. Supplements can be found over the counter, and the high dose form can be obtained by prescription if you are unable to get outside or if the sun is not as intense in the winter months where you live.
Vitamin D and Depression
There is a correlation between depression and lack of vitamin D, according to the article “Vitamin D Deficiency and Depression” in Psychology Today. Studies have shown that the lower the vitamin D level, the greater the chance for depression. Come on, think about it, you always feel better when the sun shines and you are out in it, right?
For plenty of outdoor winter activities and more check out our article: 100 Sober Things to Do to Beat the Winter Blues!