August is the hottest month of summer and the sun is baking many parts of the US right now. I love the heat and there is much to be said about fun in the sun. In keeping up with your weight loss goals or maintaining your sexy body, outside workouts are awesome. Running, walking, swimming, biking, hiking, tree climbing with kids, roller skating or just relaxing in the sun are just a few of the many ways to take your workouts and weight loss outdoors.
Enjoy it while you can get it because the winter months are fast approaching.
I live in NYC and walk everywhere. I'm in Central Park almost every day walking to and from yoga clients.
Being outside is medicine for the soul. Being in the fresh air and with nature connects you to something bigger than you are. When you're connected to something bigger than you are, it's so much easier to get a grip on your outlook in life and your body and weight loss goals. Breathe. Connect. Love.
We still have plenty of time to being the sun and that's why I wanted to bring up the importance and brilliance of Vitamin D. (Recipe below)
Many health experts consider the benefits of vitamin D to be one of the most important health discoveries in the last century!!! How amazing is that?
The first thing that comes to mind when you think about Vitamin D is SUNSHINE. :)
Vitamin D is found in 2 forms. Vitamin D2 (Ergocalciferol) is made by plants. You can find it in foods that have been fortified, such as juices, milk, or cereals (not really the best source). However, Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol), the most complete form of Vitamin D, is made when the skin is exposed to sun.
We’ve been somewhat “brain-washed” by the media to think that all sun exposure is bad. This is NOT TRUE! Getting 15 minutes of direct sunlight on unprotected skin is usually enough to get in your daily dose. Nature is your best bet for Vitamin D. Including foods in your diet that contain vitamin D, like fish (wild salmon is good), cod liver oil, milk, eggs, fresh fruits, and vegetables will also help. Unfortunately, most of us don't get enough Vitamin D through food sources or sun exposure. :(:(
It is estimated that up to 2/3 of the population is deficient in Vitamin D and needs to take a Vitamin D3 supplement. Keep in mind that it is a fat-soluble vitamin and should be taken with a meal for the best absorption possible.
So what are some of the benefits?
- Bone Health - Vitamin D aids in the absorption and metabolism of calcium and phosphorous
- Increases bone density & helps decrease fractures
- Helps to prevent osteoporosis
- Enhances the immune system, lowering the incidence of colds or flu
- Lowers incidence of cancer & rheumatoid arthritis
- Controls hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Aids in heart/cardiovascular health, preventing premature death
- Reduces inflammation
- Prevention against diabetes, autoimmune diseases, & multiple sclerosis
- Eases muscle aches & fibromyalgia symptoms
- Improves serotonin levels, thus aiding the control of depression
- Helps control appetite and even improves fat-loss efforts!!
As you can see, Vitamin D is absolutely necessary for good health & the list of benefits just keeps on GROWING.
How do I know if I am getting enough?
Have a blood test called 25(OH). It is the ONLY blood test out there that measures the amount of Vitamin D to determine if you are getting enough or not. This test is especially important if you have family history of cancer or autoimmune disease.
FYI, for my pale ladies out there that need sunscreen after being in the sun for 10 to 15 minutes, please do not go to the drug store and buy the chemical laden sunscreen products. Try Living Libation's Everybody Loves the Sunshine and Everybody Loves the Sunshine with Zinc.
If you’re feeling crafty you can whip up a batch of homemade sunscreen:
HOMEMADE LAVENDER SUNSCREEN
- 1 oz. coconut oil
- 8 oz. shea butter
- 1 oz. jojoba, sesame, or sunflower oil ( I personally love jojoba)
- 1 oz. Vitamin E oil
- 30 drops lavender essential oils – (you can use rosemary or vanilla too)
- 1-2 tbsp zinc oxide powder ( the more zinc oxide the more sun protection)
Add coconut oil, shea butter, and jojoba/sesame/sunflower oil to double broiler or a makeshift double boiler. Heat gently until shea butter is just melted. Remove from double boiler and allow to cool a little. If you can put a mask or something that covers your nose and mouth to avoid breathing in the fine particles of zinc oxide powder and stir gently, and measure out your zinc oxide. Add zinc oxide, Vitamin E oil, and optional essential oils to the other ingredients. Stir well to combine. Store in a dark jar in the refrigerator.
Apply liberally to exposed skin and reapply when every few hours or more if your sweating or in the water.