We all need sunshine in our lives – it’s vital to our wellbeing. While much ado is made about overexposure and the risks of too much sunlight, not getting enough has risks too. Underexposure to the beneficial rays of the sun results in a host of health problems, namely, a lack of vitamin D. If you enjoy living or vacationing in the mountains, you may wonder, “am I getting enough vitamin D?”
What is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is a nutrient that helps maintain heart health and strong bones. It is essential for the absorption of calcium in our bodies, it supports the function of our nervous systems, and helps our immune system fight disease.
While a few foods naturally have vitamin D, and it is added to some processed foods like soy milk, the main source of this vitamin is the sun. The body makes its own vitamin D when sunlight hits your skin. This works best with direct sunlight, not sunlight filtered through a shade. Those with light skin tones make vitamin D easier than those with darker melanin.
Northern regions of Canada, including the mountain regions, are known for long winters with short days. This can be a concern when it comes to getting enough UV rays to make vitamin D.
Should I be concerned about my UV exposure when I live in the mountains?
Often, just being knowledgeable about UV rays and their benefits is enough for most people. With this awareness, most maximize their time in the sun. In fact, 10 – 30 minutes of exposure a few times a week is enough for most people, but this will vary based on individual health needs and skin tones.
When you live in the mountains, you are likely there because you enjoy an active, outdoor lifestyle. In the summer, sunscreen and other protective measures are important to prevent overexposure but being out and about outdoors helps soak up those beneficial rays.
In the winter, however, it’s a different story. Mountain winters can get cold and be accompanied by blowing snow. Your first priority is to be safe, and that means preventing frostbite. Don’t exposure your skin to the elements when it has a chance of freezing in under 10 minutes. Instead, wait for those mild winter days when you can sit on your patio or go for a walk and get some sun, and supplement with vitamin D drops or tablets if you feel you are not getting enough exposure. Remember, you don’t need daily exposure – especially during the winter – to reap the benefits of vitamin D production. Get some sun as you can, when you can, and supplement only if you need to. Before taking supplements, speak with your doctor as the symptoms of low vitamin D (fatigue, bone pain, muscle weakness, mood swings) can mimic other diseases.
Getting that sun in Canmore
Canmore winters are surprising mild and sunny. This mountain region’s coldest month (January) dips to an average of just -14.1◦C. This is a town where you have plenty of summer days to get the vitamin D you need, and plenty of skiing slopes, hiking and fat-biking trails, and a nice downtown core to get outside on those warmer winter days. Developments like Distinctive Homes ensure large balconies where you can step outside and be comfortable while soaking up those rays year round, and large windows that let in a lot of natural light.
Mountain living has so many benefits, including getting the sunshine you need. Learn more about how you can live a life of adventure every day thanks to Distinctive Homes by clicking here: https://distinctivehomescanmore.com/move-in-ready-homes/.