The Sunshine Vitamin Holds Major Potential for Your Cardio Workout

Now that hibernation-slash-hygge season is in full swing, soaking up the prescribed dose of Vitamin D (which is 600 IU for people between the ages of 1 to 70 years, according to the Mayo Clinic) becomes seriously challenging. But according to a recent study, doubling down on your efforts despite the frigid temps might be extra, extra if you consider yourself a workout warrior.

The study, which was published recently in European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, found an association between higher levels of vitamin D and better cardiorespiratory fitness (which refers to your body's ability to supply oxygen to the muscles during exercise), reports Science Daily. By observing 1,995 participants through data from the NHANES database, researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University found that the participants in the top quarter of Vitamin D levels had a fourfold higher cardiorespiratory fitness level than those on the opposite end of the spectrum. Translation: Stepping up your treadmill, HIIT, or spin workouts might be as simple as having a little QT with the sunshine vitamin (in sun-protected IRL, bottled, or edible form).

New York City–based dermatologist Joshua Zeichner points out that the exact reason why Vitamin D levels in the blood of people who exercise were higher isn't completely clear in the research, but he has a few science-backed guesses. "Possible explanations include that exercise makes our bodies more efficient at producing Vitamin D, and that people who exercise are outdoors more and get more sun exposure," explains the dermatologist. Additionally, he posits that it could be because healthier people are more likely to reach for vitamin D-rich foods.

Even though we don't (yet) know why the observational study yielded these results though, consider this your reminder to step up your VD game this winter season.  Generally speaking, incidental sun exposure, even while wearing sunscreen (and please make sure to do that) should be enough to ensure adequate production of vitamin D, recommends Dr. Zeichner, adding that you can also upgrade your meals with vitamin D-fueled ingredients like salmon, eggs, and milk, or ask your doctor how many IUs are right for you in supplement-form.

While you're rekindling your love of Vitamin D, go ahead and stock up on these 6 daily supplements for optimum health. And don't forget magnesium!

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