Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that we all need to help us absorb calcium and adhere it to our bones so they are healthy and strong, and keep up that bone density. The problem with Vitamin D is that it is present in very few foods, but we can take it in supplement form, and it is activated through Ultraviolet (UV) rays. I know there is always this internal fight I go through whether I should forgo sunblock for a few hours to get in my Vitamin D or slap on the sunblock, pop a supplement, and hope for the best! The good news is that a new study form Harvard has just come out and it gives an alternative!
What’s the Deal?
It has been long since known that people who run, jog, play sports, bike, etc all have a lower risk of cardiac disease, and they decrease their risk of heart attack by 22%, as long as they keep up that exercise for 3 or more hours per week. These people that have such great exercise regimens have been found to have higher levels of the “good” cholesterol and also higher levels of Vitamin D. Three hours of vigorous exercise a week leads to a 38% increase in HDL (good cholesterol), and they also showed increased levels of Vitamin D and lower levels of Hemoglobin a1c (a predictor for diabetes).
It ends up, that people who tend to work out a lot, spend a lot of time outside, and regardless of sunblock use, these people are spending at least three or more hours out in the environment, getting UV rays, absorbing them, and activating it faster due to increased metabolism (from running/biking/whatever your little butt off!) They found through their study that most people who vigorously exercise, tend to spend their time exercising outdoors, and it is better for your cardiac health! I knew there was a reason that winter, spring, summer, fall, in these crazy New England weather patterns I was outside running like crazy…and now instead of saying that my ADHD makes me go bonkers on the treadmill, I can just claim that I knew all along how much more Vitamin D I was absorbing and how much healthier my heart is for it!
I am not telling everyone to go crazy like me and run outside regardless of what the weather is doing, but I always do encourage people to go outside and walk to do errands when possible, park far away, and just take some time outside of the four walls of your gym to exercise. We now know that Vitamin D is cardiac protective, and taking a supplement, along with UV ray absorption can help to boost your cardiac health and being outside will boost the activation and help strengthen your bones and muscles!
So go outside to get your exercise, you may not “see” the benefits but your heart will!
Yours in Good Health