With longer days and warmer weather, more of us are spending time exercising outdoors. This comes as a great relief after a long, cold, dark winter. One great activity that people may not realize that they can perform outdoors is yoga. A great benefit of performing yoga outdoors is that it allows your body to make Vitamin D. It is important for us to take the opportunity to make some Vitamin D every day because for much of the year we cannot make enough Vitamin D to satisfy our bodies’ needs. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), 5-30 minutes of sun exposure between 10 AM and 3 PM at least twice a week to the face, arms, legs and back without using sunscreen will lead to sufficient levels of Vitamin D synthesis. The importance of maintaining healthy levels of Vitamin D is just beginning to be understood: a growing body of research suggests that Vitamin D might play some role in the prevention and treatment of Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes, Hypertension, Glucose Intolerance, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), and many other medical conditions. Vitamin D has a number of roles in the body, including modulation of cell growth, neuromuscular and immune function and the reduction of inflammation. Recent epidemiological studies suggest that Vitamin D may have a protective effect against colon, prostate and breast cancer. Finally, Vitamin D is extremely important in supporting calcium metabolism and in the prevention of osteoporosis or brittle bones; a disease characterized by low bone mass and structural deterioration of bone tissue which increases bone fragility and significantly increases the risk of bone fractures. Osteoporosis is most often associated with inadequate calcium intake, but insufficient Vitamin D contributes to osteoporosis by reducing the body’s efficiency in calcium absorption and metabolism. Rickets and osteomalacia are extreme examples of the effects of Vitamin D deficiency. However, osteoporosis is an example of a long-term effect of lower-level calcium and Vitamin D insufficiency. Adequate storage levels of Vitamin D maintain bone strength and might help prevent osteoporosis in older adults and other people at risk. This is important because more than 40 million adults in the United States have or are at risk of developing osteoporosis. Also many more Americans are at risk of developing osteopenia, which can lead to osteoporosis. So take advantage of the beautiful spring and take care of your health by moving your yoga routine outdoors.
Ayurvedic and Naturopathic Medical Clinic