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Vitamin D and Safe Sun Exposure

VitaminDsun

The most natural way to get vitamin D is by exposing your bare skin to sunlight (ultraviolet B rays). This can happen very quickly (just 15 minutes for a very fair skinned person) particularly in the summer. You don’t need to tan or burn your skin to get vitamin D.

Exposing your skin for a short time will make all the vitamin D your body can produce in one day. In fact, your body can produce 10,000 to 25,000 IU of vitamin D in just a little under the time it takes for your skin to begin to burn. You make the most vitamin D when you expose a large area of your skin, such as your back, rather than a small area such as your face or arms.

There are a number of factors that affect how much vitamin D your body produces when your skin is exposed to sunlight.  These include the time of year and time of day, where you live in the world and the type of skin you have.

The amount of vitamin D you get from exposing your bare skin to the sun depends on:

  • The time of day – your skin produces more vitamin D if you expose it during the middle of the day.
  • Where you live –  the closer to the equator you live, the easier it is for you to produce vitamin D from sunlight all year round.
  • The colour of your skin –  pale skins make vitamin D more quickly than darker skins.
  • The amount of skin you expose – the more skin your expose the more vitamin D your body will produce.

Check out the app dminder to optimise Vitamin D levels while staying safe in the sun.

Protecting the Skin

While covering up to prevent too much sun exposure is an important step in protecting yourself from skin cancer, research has not always shown that sunscreen is the safest and most effective method.

Research has shown that sunscreen helps prevent squamous cell carcinoma, but has no effect in preventing basal cell carcinoma. For melanoma, research has been contradictory. Some research shows that sunscreen prevents melanoma, while other research shows that it increases your chance of getting melanoma.

For these reasons, the Vitamin D Council believes that covering up with clothing and/or going into the shade (after you get a little bit of sun exposure), is a safer way to protect yourself from too much sun exposure.

Another alternative is to use a non-nano barrier sunscreen after you have gotten enough sun exposure for Vitamin D production.

What’s Your Posture Like?

Chances are you’re reading this while leaning over a desk. Your head is tilted forward; your shoulders are curved. If you’re on a laptop or mobile device, your shoulders are slumped and you’re looking down.

Am I right? Over time this could eventually cause the natural curvature of the neck to reverse – called forward head posture or ‘text neck.’

Gadget addicts are coming down with ‘text neck’ in their droves. Increasing numbers of patients are suffering neck pain from spending too much time hunched over phones and computers. The rise of smartphones and tablet computers has fuelled the problem. The extra capability for playing games and browsing the internet on smartphones means they tend to be used for longer periods. And unlike laptops, tablet computers are often placed flat on the lap, meaning users crane their neck over to view the screen.

Forward head posture can lead to irreversible arthritic degeneration if left untreated and anyone experiencing pain should get themselves checked by a chiropractor.

Are You Sitting Too Much?

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You’d have thought sitting down would be good for your back. Surely taking the pressure off when you’ve been walking about gives your body a bit of a rest? Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth.

Sitting down for long periods has been shown to cause many physical problems, including back pain. This is particularly acute if you work in an office or are seated for the majority of the day.

It’s alarming how long we sit without moving at all. A study for BUPA found only one in five workers left their desk during the day to get a drink or go to the toilet (1). Which means an unbelievable 80% of people stay exactly where they are for their entire working day. All day, off their feet. Add into this equation that a lot of people then spend most of their leisure time on the sofa in front of the TV and you have a worryingly sedentary outcome. By contrast, the British Chiropractic Association recommends you don’t sit for more than 30-40 minutes at a time.

Sitting for long periods can weaken the back muscles, making it harder for your back to work properly. This isn’t a problem just for office workers and the elderly. Recent research from the British Chiropractic Association shows 40% of 16 to 34 years olds who said they had experienced back or neck pain spent the majority of their time ‘mainly sitting’, while 32% reported back pain was triggered by sitting still for long periods of time. Sitting is not only bad for your back, it has negative effects on your overall health.

Why sitting is bad for more than just your spine!

What can I do to prevent back pain caused by sitting? Aside from taking a job which requires you to be on your feet most of the day, undoing the effects of being seated for so many hours isn’t easy. Our advice is to avoid or minimise sitting as much as possible.

• Stand up while you are on the phone. Better yet, pace!
• Walk more around your house.
• Take the stairs.
• Walk after you eat lunch.
• Park your car farther away from your destination. Don’t look for that perfect spot up close.
• Take the long route!
• Get vigorous about your daily cleaning and cooking.
• Work your calves when you brush your teeth!
• Stand up and stretch when you’re at your computer a lot.
• Don’t send emails if the recipient is in walking distance. Get up, walk and talk.
• Stand up or do exercises while watching TV.
• Consider a standing workstation.
• Refill your water glass every hour.
• Reduce television and home computer use. Try recording programmes to allow you to fast forward the advertising.

1. Get Away From Your Desk – British Chiropractic Association http://www.chiropractic-uk.co.uk/get-away-from-your-desk-207-news.aspx
2. Don’t sit back – British Chiropractic Association http://www.chiropractic-uk.co.uk/dont-sit-back-196-news.aspx
3. Sitting for long periods ‘is bad for your health’ – BBC http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-19910888
4. Sitting time and all-cause mortality risk in 222,497 Australian adultshttp://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1108810

 
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