It’s getting colder and colder this winter…the South was even hit with snow and ice this week! We’re hoping Punxatawney Phil (who knew there was a Groundhog Ball?!) doesn’t see his shadow on Sunday. Whether or not the weather improves, there are ways to fight the winter blues.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a real diagnosis for 6% of Americans, and a lot more of us experience some of the symptoms this time of year. Fend off these symptoms by cutting down on carbohydrates, getting enough exercise, and getting outdoors for a few minutes when the sun pops out—even a ten-minute walk can have a positive effect on your day.
Vitamin D is essential for strong bones, fighting off infections, and making your body work at its best. The most natural way to get Vitamin D is from sunlight, so if you’re stuck inside, make sure you take a supplement. The Vitamin D Council gives some tips on getting the right amount of sunlight, depending several variables:
- Skin tone. The lighter your skin, the faster your body takes in Vitamin D.
- Time of year & time of day. More Vitamin D is produced around mid-day. If your shadow is longer than your body height, you’re probably not making any Vitamin D.
- Distance from the equator. The angle of the sun makes a difference, so the closer you live to the equator, the more you can get Vitamin D throughout the year. In Florida, it’s year-round, but in Canada, it’s only produced from May to August.
- The amount of skin you expose. Vitamin D is absorbed through your skin, so you’ll get a lot more in your swimsuit than you will taking a walk in your suit at the office.
Be careful not to overexpose your skin. Check out the Vitamin D Council website for more specific recommendations.