Take positive action this winter!
As an Osteopath, one of my key aims is to help my patients achieve and maintain good bone health.
During the Spring and Summer months, we spend more time outside, taking advantage of the free supply of vitamin D from the sun and are generally more motivated to exercise. However, for most, it is a different story as the days become colder and darker and hybernation sets in!
Vitamin D and the winter
We need to look after our bone health all year round but from the end of September to the beginning of April, it takes a bit more thinking about.
It is important to get adequate vitamin D as it helps us to absorb calcium which keeps our bones and muscles strong. Some vitamin D does come from our diet but the majority is from the sun and hence why we need to be more proactive in ensuring we take the right action during those winter months.
So what can you do to help?
During the months when you cannot get vitamin D from the sunlight, Public Health have advised people to consider taking a 10 micrograms daily supplement. In addition, be more mindful of the nutritional content of your diet. Below is a link to a list of vitamin D rich foods:
In addition, ensure that you are eating an adequate amount of calcium. According to the Royal Society of Osteoporosis, our body contains about one kilogram of calcium, 99% of this being in our bones. The recommended daily intake for an adult is about 700mg a day, achievable through healthy eating. Some good sources of calcium are dairy products, green leafy vegetables, almonds, sesame seeds, sardines, dried fruit and pulses.
Weight bearing exercise is also essential for your bone health so remember that it is just as important to take exercise on a cold wintry day as it is on a sunny day! You may have to change your normal exercise routine and opt for some alternative indoor activities to maintain your fitness.
The fear of falling
For those that are older and more frail, taking exercise during the winter months is often met with a fear of falls on slippery roads and pavements, yet most falls actually occur in the house. However, using the correct techniques in the way you move and lift can reduce the likelihood of falling.
Daily exercises aimed at building strength and improving balance can help to reduce the risk of falling, for example, standing on one leg and sitting to standing repeatedly. The benefits of this not only keeps you moving and building strength but also increases your confidence and reduces your fear of falling.
So you may need to make some changes during the winter months to look after your bone health. And remember, If you do need any advice on diet, exercise or general backcare, our team of Osteopaths are always happy to help.