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How Sunlight Affects Our Health

In these dark winter months, a lack of sunlight presents some challenges to our mood and routine. Few people are a fan of sunsets at 5 pm, but the effects of low sunlight are deeper than that. Read on to see how sunlight affects our health, and what we can do to mitigate the risks.

Sunlight and Vitamin D
Most people know we get vitamin D from sunlight, but few realize the vital role it plays in our lives. Between April-September, many of us get sufficient levels of vitamin D through sunlight alone. However, in the fall/winter months we may need supplements or certain foods in order to maintain optimal levels of vitamin D.

Vitamin D is great for our immune function on its own, but it also regulates the body’s calcium and phosphate levels. Without it, we could develop weaker bones and muscles, a vital component to combating chronic pain. For physical therapy and beyond, vitamin D is an absolute must.

To get enough vitamin D in the winter, we should be conscious of the foods we eat. Vitamin D can be found in fish, egg yolks, red meat, and fortified foods such as soy or rice milk. Vitamin D supplements are also available. Most dieticians recommend 600 IU/15 mg of vitamin D per day for the average adult.

Mood
Innately, sunshine makes many people feel happy, and that feeling is backed by science. Apart from vitamin D, which is related to mood regulation, seeing sunlight is directly related to the release of serotonin (a mood-stabilizing hormone). This is why light therapy can be used to boost one’s mood.

If you’re feeling low, make an effort to be exposed to more sunlight. Noon, when the sun is at its highest, is the best time to absorb sunlight through your arms, neck, and face. Sun exposure for ten-minute intervals, a few times a week, is recommended in the winter. This technique is not a cure-all for diagnosed mood disorders such as depression, but is recommended for optimal health and chasing away the “winter blues.”

Exercise
There’s nothing wrong with exercising at night, but some lose the motivation to do so based on practical or safety concerns. Colder weather makes us even more likely to stay indoors, which could lead to a sedentary lifestyle.

i’move has a series of quarantine workouts and other exercises to spice things up this season. You don’t need a gym membership or sunlight to get moving. With a little help from the experts, you can keep your body healthy for many years to come.

Building a Strong Body
A lack of vitamin D or sunlight may be a contributing factor to some pain and illness, but the true source of pain varies for each individual. To get to the real root of recovery, sign up for a 30-minute consultation with an i’move physical therapist. Scheduling a one-on-one consulting session with an i’move team member can lead to recommendations for the right exercise and diet to live life pain-free.

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