Sunshine and Longer days!

I spoke to my big sis yesterday during our weekly Sunday Face Time chats and she exhausted the conversation early to get out and enjoy the rays of sunshine.  She lives in Alaska and was gloating over the longer days becoming more noticed.

This coming weekend we spring forward and  although we lose an hour of sleep – who cares, right?! An extra hour of sunlight moving closer to solstice day creates hope for the cold days to end (although here in KC we have had a seriously mild winter)!

What does longer days of sun mean for you? Here are my favs!

  • Flowers, flowers and more flowers!
  • Walks and hikes for a much greater span!
  • Corn hole and beer – just saying!
  • Vitamin D – healthy immune system!
  • Fresh fruits and Veggies!
  • Green Grass and Parks!
  • Water Slides, Water Parks, Water Rides, Water Fountains, Water Polo!

Now looking at the bottom right corner of my computer I see that it’s just March 6…Yikes, I may be a little overconfident here, although back to my point…Spring forward is this weekend so mark your calendars and sunlight feel free to shine on through!

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“Calling All Vitamin D!”

With the freshness of a new year, it’s always a good time to begin new habits, and new things to help us grow as people.  There is truth in the fact that the happier we are, the more we illuminate as dancers.  Another way to put it is that we subconsciously emit a certain aura when we are more or less happy.  Have you ever been told, “Wow, you just look so much better?”  Sometimes, we as dancers, aren’t even aware of the impact our energy has on ourself, others, and even our dancing.  So, in this way, it’s always a good thing to keep expanding while finding ways to stay both happy and healthy.

After asking some dancer friends what their own resolutions were for 2012, a common theme came up.  Nutrition!  So, I thought I would tap into some fun nutritional facts and share with you what came up for the next few Movement Wednesday entries.

This week’s Movement Wednesday themed food is, VITAMIN D!

There isn’t much better than a nice sunny day.  Whether it brings on a smile, inspiration to seize the day, or just open up the blinds; sun is good! Not only does it make us feel good, but it also encourages our body to produce good things – like Vitamin D.  That’s right!  Vitamin D can be produced in our bodies by the stroke of sunlight on our skin.

Vitamin D’s Pathway in the Body:  In the skin, sunlight stimulates a chemical change in Vitamin D.  To keep it simple, Vitamin D7 changes to the form D3 in the skin.  D3 is then transported from the skin to the liver, which is then converted with the assistance of an enzyme into 25-hydroxycholecalciferol (25-OHD3).  I stress this reaction because now the vitamin is 5 times more potent than D3.  To multiply its intensity another 10 times, it travels to the kidneys to become 1,25-dihydoxycholecalciferol (1.25-(OH)2D3).  Knowing the big words is not important, but understanding the path that Vitamin D takes in order to be most productive is key to fully understanding the vitamin’s purpose.

What happens to the Body with a Vitamin D Deficiency:  Whether we aren’t getting enough sunlight (which we dancers know can easily happen living in a studio with no or little windows), or our bodies are not converting Vitamin D efficiently, our bodies become affected.

Symptoms include:

  • Inability to calcify the bone matrix – May result in softening of bones, bowing of legs, spinal curvature, and increased joint size (serious cases are becoming increasingly more rare).
  • Lacks the ability to stimulate the absorption of calcium.  Without Vitamin D, the body cannot absorb calcium.
  • Calcium is essential for human beings, especially in cell physiology, because calcium ion (Ca+2) moves in and out of cytoplasm to initiate signals for many cellular processes.
  • Calcium also promotes the building of stronger, denser bones early in life and keeping bones strong and healthy later in life. (So here we can see the importance of Vitamin D’s role with calcium).

Sources of Vitamin D:

  • Cold Water fish, such as mackerel, salmon, and herring
  • Butter (who knew?)
  • Egg yolks
  • Best plant sources – dark green leafy vegetables
  • Milk, vitamin D fortified
  • Liver, beef, cooked
  • Cheese – Swiss
  • The Sun!

Lets be Practical:

  • Drink a glass of milk, fortified with Vitamin D with dinner
  • Eat soft or hard-boiled eggs in the A.M.
  • Eat a spinach salad with hard boiled egg, tomatoes, and some bacon for taste and crunch – pack it for lunch
  • Add a little butter on your bread!!
  • Get outside on a sunny day – even if it’s for 5 minutes.  Take a walk, eat outside!
  • If it’s too cold to go outside, find a window and get some indoor sunshine!

Also Important to Know:

  • Vitamin D has great potential for toxicity.  Supplementation greater than 400 IU per/day, is unwarranted.

**For an inside look at what professional dancers are saying is their definition of “health” click HERE.  Thanks for reading.**