With recent reports stating that we’re not getting our full annual quota of vitamin D, now’s the time to make the most of those long, lazy and hazy summer days. At Abbeycroft Leisure, we don’t need an excuse to be outdoors and exercising! But we do know that with life’s daily pressures and demands, getting enough fresh air is sometimes a challenge.

Let’s take a look at the reasons why we all need vitamin D for great overall health and wellbeing, as well as how best to boost our levels of vitamin D.

Vitamin D is more important than you think…

Vitamin D plays a number of important roles, such as supporting our immune systems, and controlling the amount of calcium and phosphate in our bodies. Calcium and phosphate are required to keep our bones and teeth healthy and strong. Too little vitamin D in our diet means that our bodies are unable to absorb enough calcium and phosphorous, which can lead to damage and also a nasty condition called rickets. In children, rickets causes bone defects and deformities, including bowed legs. And in adults, rickets can make bones painful and tender.

Where can vitamin D be found?

First and foremost, seeing 10 to 15 minutes of the sun, on sunny days during the spring and summer months, is enough to help boost vitamin D levels quite considerably. Just make sure you go sunscreen-free. Of course, we’re not advocating any longer than 10 to 15 minutes in the sun without sunscreen, and it goes without saying that you should never let your skin burn. But exposure to the sun is the best place to start because vitamin D forms under your skin in reaction to sunlight.

Other sources of vitamin D include certain foods, such as oily fish (salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines), meat, eggs, and fortified products including breakfast cereals, soya products, dairy products and some butter alternatives.

Factors that can lead to a vitamin D deficiency…

There are a number of lifestyle and environmental factors that can affect our ability to get sufficient amounts of vitamin D from the sun alone. These include pollution, spending too much time indoors, working longer hours in offices, commuting via public transport or car to and from work, and the use of sunscreen.

Furthermore, researchers are sadly finding there is a steep rise in the occurrence of vitamin D deficiency, and consequently rickets, in children. This is due to children playing on computer games and watching TV, as opposed to being outdoors enjoying games, sunshine and fresh air with friends. It also goes hand-in-hand with the increase in rates of childhood obesity as children are leading increasingly sedentary lives.

So it’s important to eat a varied and well-balanced diet that’s rich in oily fish and eggs, as well as plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.

Already a member? Then you have access to our fantastic health, wellbeing and sport facilities. Our supportive health and wellbeing coaches are on hand for you to offer advice on healthy eating, weight control, and exercise options. So, you have everything you could ever need onsite to keep up the great work. Book in to see a coach today and learn how using our app and Boditrax can keep you on track.

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