For those of us in the northern hemisphere, the days are getting shorter, the temperature is falling rapidly and unfortunately the challenges our bodies face will only get tougher from here.
As active people and athletes, we all know just how important and beneficial exercise and the great outdoors can be for everyone’s physical and mental health. But as winter sets in and even for the most dedicated fitness fanatics, getting outside in the cold and wet just doesn't seem so appealing and so, you guessed it… we all creep back indoors.
Add into the mix the fact that we are now living through another lockdown, it looks like we will definitely be spending more and more time indoors. Zoom HIIT session anyone? With less sunlight hours than normal, it becomes incredibly important to support our immune system with the vitamins and minerals it needs to keep us healthy and active.
Now more than ever, our immune systems are at the forefront of our minds and they continue to face challenging times this winter. But…it’s not all doom and gloom...
Why is it called the 'Sunshine Vitamin'?
It is called the ‘sunshine vitamin’ because it is usually produced by the body in response to direct sunlight. When our skin is exposed to sunlight, it makes vitamin D from cholesterol. The sun’s ultraviolet B (UVB) rays hit cholesterol in the skin cells. Providing the energy for vitamin D synthesis to occur. Which during the sunnier months (April to September here in the UK) can be quite easy to achieve.
Vitamin D3 aka ‘The Sunshine Vitamin’ contributes to the normal function of our immune system and our muscles as well as playing a key role in maintaining good bone health. But did you also know that vitamin D can also help to reduce symptoms of depression! An amazing benefit like this is not one to be overlooked!
Turn back the clocks however and we arrive in winter and our sunlight hours quickly dwindle away leaving us at risk of not having enough vitamin D in our bodies to the support the normal function of these vital systems.
During the winter months (and sometimes even during the sunnier ones) we have limited exposure to natural sunlight and very few foods contain vitamin D naturally and in large enough amounts; so it can be really hard to get enough vitamin D through sun exposure and your food alone. That’s why taking vitamin D supplements like our active vitamin D3 can help you!
Why is it important for me?
The fact that it is so important for everyone to maintain optimal levels of vitamin D3 has been recognised most recently by the government in Scotland. It has been suggested that those who have been shielding and those who continue to do so, in Scotland, are to receive a free supply of vitamin D much like you would any other prescription medicine. And it looks like the rest of the UK could be following suit very soon!
It is becoming more and more researched at the moment, just how effective optimal vitamin D levels can be against reducing not only the chance of infection of virus like COVID-19; but also the severity of the symptoms.
This terrible pandemic has highlighted just how effective physical activity can be against illness and disease. But it has also shown us that simply taking a vitamin D supplement like our active vitamin D3, is actually a convenient and cost effective way to help tackle an increasing vitamin D deficiency in modern, urban populations.
How are you keeping active in Lockdown 2.0? Let us know in the comments below. Share this with someone who you know would benefit from reading this. The U Perform family loves sharing ideas and encouraging each other.