It is a dreary day here in Austin, Texas. What a perfect time to write about the importance of a key performance ingredient, sunlight. I think it is pretty widely accepted that sunlight is important, but I would argue that many of us do not realize how important sunlight is to performance.
Let's start with the basics. NASA states that "Nothing is more important to us on Earth than Sun. Without the Sun's heat and light, the Earth would be a lifeless ball of ice-coated rock."
While this seems a bit harsh, I could argue that sunlight is also that important to your performance training journey!
Why is sunlight important?
Vitamin-D is massively important for your performance. From bone growth and remodeling to fending off disease, Vitamin-D plays a role in making sure you stay in peak working condition. Research has also pointed out that Vitamin-D might increase skeletal muscle function and also reduce recovery times. While you can supplement with Vitamin-D, strive for sunlight first, supplementation second.
If you have ever lived in a place where winters are cold and dark, you have probably felt the effects of a lack of Vitamin-D. I grew up in Pennsylvania and winters were always rough on me, mentally. Vitamin D plays such a valuable role in brain function. It makes sense that a deficiency could lead to such a taxing mental health price to pay. In climates where you might be short on sunlight, looking at supplemental Vitamin-D is a good consideration.
Our lives revolve around the sun. It is that simple. Think about days and nights, seasons, food sources, and even our own blood filtration. We have tried our best to alter our circadian rhythm with the light from our electronic devices, decreased levels of outdoor activity, and unique work schedules. However, the sun still has amazing control over our daily function. Fighting our rhythm with the sun is an added stressor that can alter your performance in the short and long-term. While you can surely get accustomed to a new routine, it might be at the expense of your performance in sport, fitness, and life.
Try to get at least 20-30 minutes of sun exposure each day. Also, consult with your medical professional to see if supplementing 1000 IUs of Vitamin-D is a good step for you!