The chances are you’re feeling the effects of dark mornings and gloomy afternoons. Energy levels dip, it can be hard to feel motivated, and the shorter daylight hours can even trigger a range of emotional and mental health issues. Did you know that vitamin D plays a major part in how well our minds and bodies cope with living in the UK? Read on to discover why vitamin D is such an important dietary supplement for runners.
Vitamin D is crucial to our bodies. If we don’t get enough of it, we’re unable to properly absorb nutrients from our food and are in danger of developing soft bones (something no runner would want to risk). So, how do we ensure we get enough vitamin D? This is where the problem lies.
Whilst we can get some vitamin D from foods (oily fish, outdoor-reared meat, free-range eggs are good sources), by far the greatest dose of vitamin D is produced by our bodies when we get outside into sunlight. Vitamin D and lack of sunlight So you can see how, at this time of year, our bodies struggle to produce enough vitamin D to stay healthy. In fact, for those of us who live in the UK and Europe, North America and anywhere that’s not renowned for being sunny, our bodies find it tough to create enough vitamin D by themselves all year round!
If weak sunlight and short daylight hours are typical of where you live, then you need to boost your vitamin D intake. Should you take a vitamin D supplement? Over the darker months, or if you spend a lot of time indoors, you need to supplement the vitamin D you get from food with a good-quality vitamin D supplement. Look for at least a 25mg (or 1000iu) dosage. Pregnant women, those of you who are breastfeeding, and people of either gender aged 65+ should pay particular attention to vitamin D intake, and seriously consider a daily supplement.
Regardless of your approach to diet and supplementation, do try to get outside every day during daylight hours, even at this time of year. As a runner, you already know how simply getting outside can boost your mood. It will also be helping your important Vitamin D levels. If you’ve been feeling under the weather, lethargic and affected by the dark days of December, it’s a sign that your body isn’t coping well with the lack of sunlight. As runners, we want to protect our bones so we can keep running for as long as we want to.
Do you think you’re lacking in vitamin D? Maybe it’s time to consider supplementing this important vitamin in order to protect the body’s strength for many years to come.