6 Major Life Factors That Influence Health & Happiness (Part III)

getting sun

At this point we’re two-thirds the way there. I’ve covered diet, exercise, stress management and sleep. The last two are optimum sunlight and a sense of community.

5. Optimum Sunlight Not only does the sun feel great on your skin, it is the optimum way to get your needed dose of Vitamin D. There is an ever-growing amount of research about the wide range of biological functions benefited by Vitamin D – and at the same time, it’s estimated that 85% of people could be deficient in it. Vitamin D impacts a whole host of health functions including: • Fat metabolism • Cancer prevention • Autoimmunity • Fertility • Insulin resistance • Diabetes • Cardiovascular disease • Anti-inflammation • Mood

15-30 minutes of sun per day is about what a person needs, but this depends on various factors such as nationality and skin type. To determine if you're getting sufficient sun exposure or need to supplement vitamin D, I recommend getting an inexpensive vitamin D blood test. You’ll want your levels to be above 30ng/ml but there is a lot of research that tends to suggest much higher.

There are ideal times to be in the sun so that your body can make vitamin D. Going out sometime from sun-up through noon should be adequate. You can use the app D-Minder to track your Vitamin D levels or go to the Sun or Moon Altitude Table and determine when the sun is 50 degrees or higher in your demographic area. This is the optimal time to get sun for Vitamin D purposes.

Before putting sunscreen on, consider that "The majority of sunscreens are geared to protect you against burning (UVB) rays, but too many UVA rays and not enough UVB promotes vitamin D breakdown.", according to Dr. Anastasia Boulais. So put protective clothing on or some broad-spectrum sunscreen on AFTER you get your needed dose of sunshine.

Supplementing with a liquid Vitamin D that contains 1000-5000IU may be your best bet to ensure you're getting the appropriate amount each day, especially during the winter. Use a Vitamin D supplement that contains Vitamin K since these two vitamins work together to regulate calcium metabolism.

Here's a great video that explains how vitamin D works and the importance of going outside.

6. Sense of Community We are social beings that thrive on supportive families and social bonds. Having a network of mutual support and human connection in the midst of our hectic, technology-driven lives is vital for our health and happiness.

Some of the greatest number of centenarian (people over 100 years old) live in communities that are heavily focused on social interaction and support. Make it a point to strengthen your relationships and spend time with those you love. Find clubs and groups within your community that share your interests. Find balance – a healthy give and take is crucial to maintaining healthy, meaningful friendships. Stay positive and surround yourself with others who support, energize, and respect you.

Don’t forget, try optimizing all six of these factors for the next 30 days and see how you look, feel, and function.

QUESTION: Are there any major life factors I've missed?

I’d love to hear from you! Share your questions, thoughts and stories!