The sun

sunrise ottawa

The sun

Look at that big beautiful ball of fire in the sky. That picture was taken right outside our facility at 6:50am.

Lucky for us we are starting to see the sun later and later. Fun fact, the days are getting longer by 2 minutes and 10 seconds every day until June 21st.

The sun is a vital part of our daily rhythm and we often overlook how important it is. Have you ever noticed that on sunny days you’re in a better mood than cloudy or rainy days?

You’re probably wondering what this has to do with exercise and nutrition. While exercise and nutrition are very important pieces to the overall puzzle you can’t overlook the importance of daily sun exposure. The biggest reason sun exposure is important is Vitamin D. Vitamin D is crucial to absorb calcium and promote bone health. A Vitamin D deficiency has now been linked to breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, heart disease, depression, weight gain. Northern cities and countries such as Ottawa Canada are known to have populations that have lower overall vitamin D levels. Therefore, assuming you live in Ottawa there is a really good chance that you’re probably going to be vitamin D deficient. Making the conscious choice to choosing foods that are high in Vitamin D and calcium since you need both to work together. Think about choosing fish such as salmon, trout, spinach, kale or collards. If you despise fish it’s probably because you grew up eating no fish ever. Supplementation is probably your next best option and it makes it easy to do on a daily basis. You can get vitamin D drops or pills. Keep in mind that vitamin D is fat soluble which means you need to eat it with fat in order to digest it. Therefore, if you combine your fish oil with your vitamin D drops that’s a good place to start to maximize absorption. We don’t necessarily recommend everyone supplementation unless you’ve had a blood test to confirm the results. When supplementing with vitamin D we’ve seen individuals dose with as much as 5000-10 000IU’s but only when prescribed by a doctor.

However, you know what’s cheaper than vitamin D supplements? Standing outside in the sun. Many people will usually wonder how long do I need to stand outside before getting enough sun exposure for my daily limit. More is not always better. Turning into a lobster is not what we are looking for. The answer to how long you should be standing outside a slightly complicated one since it depends on your complexion, geographical location, elevation, and time of year. The distance you are from the sun will dictate how long you should be out there. Take a look at the picture below that can have you outside from 10 to 90 minutes daily.

The reality is with the chaotic busy lives we lead. We rarely have time to be outside for that long during the day. In that case supplements would be the next best option. Just make sure you’re getting some vitamin D daily. Especially in those darker Ottawa months. It can make a big difference in improving your mood and overall feeling of well being.

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