Why do most of us feel happy when the sun is shining? While it’s warming our bodies and allowing flowers to bloom, the sun’s rays are also providing healthy doses of Vitamin D, a nutrient that studies have shown helps elevate our mood.
Vitamin D is so crucial to our emotional well-being that the incidence of Seasonal Affective Disorder, a form of depression, is higher in northern climates where winters are darker than the rest of the country.
Vitamin D also helps our bodies function properly in lots of other ways. A healthy dose of Vitamin D daily promotes bone and muscle health; immune system response; normal functioning of our nervous systems; helps regulate our blood pressure, insulin and blood sugar levels; and can help our bodies absorb calcium, according to studies across the United States.
For optimum health, the National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends 400-800 IU (International Units) of Vitamin D per day for adults up to 50 years of age, and 800-1,000 IU per day for those over 50.
Jazzercise Founder and CEO Judi Sheppard Missett suggests these Vitamin D dietary sources:
Eat More Fish – Three ounces of herring contains almost 1,400 IU of Vitamin D; four ounces of fresh salmon contains 740 IU. Canned salmon, halibut, sardines and tuna are other good sources with 200 to 500 IU per three-ounce serving.
Drink Milk – Many milk products are fortified with Vitamin D, a practice that began in the 1930s when the incidence of rickets in children, characterized by softening of the bones, caused medical professionals to look for ways to make sure babies received enough of the nutrient. Some orange juice, yogurt, bread and other products are also fortified with Vitamin D; quantities vary greatly by brand so check the label.
Cod Liver Oil – One tablespoon of cod liver oil carries approximately three times the recommended daily dosage of Vitamin D. That’s why our grandparents knew it was good for us!
Supplements – There are many Vitamin D supplements on the market. Check with your doctor for the type and dosage that is best for you.
The sun is also a great source of Vitamin D, but remember to soak it up safely, consulting with your doctor to find the perfect balance of natural Vitamin D that is best for your body.
Judi Sheppard Missett, who turned her love of jazz dance into a worldwide dance exercise phenomenon, founded the Jazzercise dance fitness program in 1969. She has advanced the business opportunities of women and men in the fitness industry by growing the program into an international franchise business that today, hosts a network of 7,800 instructors teaching more than 32,000 classes weekly in 32 countries.
The workout program, which offers a fusion of jazz dance, resistance training, Pilates, yoga, cardio box and Latin style movements, has positively affected millions of people worldwide. Benefits include increased cardiovascular endurance, strength, and flexibility, as well as an overall "feel good" factor. Additional Jazzercise programs include Junior Jazzercise, Jazzercise Lite and Personal Touch. For more information on Jazzercise go to jazzercise.com or call (800)FIT-IS-IT or (760)476-1750.