Vitamin D helps regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body, which are needed to keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy. As a result, a lack of vitamin D can lead to bone deformities and bone pain. The main source of vitamin D comes from sunlight, which is absorbed by the skin when outdoors. During the spring and summer months in the UK, most people should be able to get all the vitamin D they need from sunlight when outdoors.
However, for some people, hectic lifestyles and busy routines can make it difficult to spend enough time outdoors to get their daily dose of the essential vitamin.
Spending most of the day at work in the office and then evenings in the gym can mean many people struggle to balance work, exercise and time to go outdoors.
One way this could be overcome, according to Waitrose’s magazine Health New Year 2019: 365 Steps to a Healthier, Fitter and Happier Year, is to take your workout outdoors.
This could be achieved by using an outdoor gym, or simply jogging or cycling outside.
Outdoor gyms comprise simple pieces of exercise equipment, such as parallel bars, leapfrog blocks, inclined press-ups and balance beams.
They are found all over the UK in parks, recreation areas or alongside cycle routes.
According to Waitrose, the Great Outdoor Gym Company, which supplies outdoor equipment, has already noted an increase in demand, having installed over 1,100 outdoor gyms globally.
“The exposure to daylight from exercising outside means you’ll get your fix of vitamin D, which is important for healthy bones, teeth and muscles,” said Waitrose.
Always remember to protect your skin if you’re out in the sun for long periods, by using sun cream to reduce the risk of skin damage and skin cancer.
In the autumn and winter months in the UK, it’s harder to get the recommended daily dose of vitamin D, due to the lack of sunlight.
As a result, the UK Department of Health advises taking daily vitamin D supplements during the colder months, in order to avoid a deficiency.
All adults and children are advised to take a daily supplement of 10 micrograms of vitamin D during these months.
Some people may also need to take vitamin D supplements all year round, in order to avoid a deficiency.
This includes people who aren’t often outdoors, such as the frail or housebound, or those living in a care home.
People who usually wear clothes that cover up most of the skin when outdoors are also at risk of deficiency all year round.
In addition, people with dark skin from African, African-Caribbean and south Asian backgrounds may also not get enough vitamin D from sunlight, according to the NHS.