Vitamin D, often known as the sunshine vitamin, plays an important role in your bone health.1 It is mostly made by the body through exposure to sunlight. This is unique to vitamin D since most vitamins come from the foods you eat.1 Having too much or too little vitamin D in your body can affect the amount of calcium in your bones and can take a toll on your overall bone health:
- Low levels of vitamin D can lead to decreased bone mass (osteoporosis) which can increase your risk of fractures.1
- Too much vitamin D can lead to calcium deposits in the kidneys (kidney stones), or calcium build-up in other soft tissues like the heart, lungs, and blood vessels.2
More than 90% of a person’s vitamin D requirement tends to come from casual exposure to sunlight.3This poses some unique challenges for those whose environments limit their exposure to the sun.2 For example, in Canada and other countries in the northern hemisphere during the winter months, people are exposed to less ultraviolet light. This means in the winter in Canada our bodies produce little to no vitamin D.1 Statistics Canada reported that, in the winter months, 40% of Canadians had vitamin D levels that were below the recommended range.1 In the summer, that number is much smaller, but still a whopping 25%.1 This means that as a northern country, we often lack the exposure to ultraviolet light that is needed for enough vitamin D to be made in the body year-round.
You can get vitamin D naturally from a few foods, including egg yolks or fatty fish such as salmon or mackerel.1 In Canada, some foods are fortified with vitamin D by law to prevent the risk of vitamin D deficiency in the general population, including milk, soy milk, rice beverages, and margarine.4
This winter, increase your vitamin D intake and keep your bones strong by reading nutritional labels and seeking out products during your regular grocery shop that are fortified with vitamin D. It also never hurts to add a little bit more sunlight to your day!
For questions about keeping your bones (and the rest of your spine, muscle, and nervous system) in good health this winter (and throughout the year), you can ask Dr. Luciano Di Loreto & Associates.
- Vitamin D blood levels of Canadians. Statcangcca. 2015. Available at: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/82-624-x/2013001/article/11727-eng.htm. Accessed October 17, 2016.
- Vitamin d and calcium: updated dietary reference intakes – nutrition and healthy eating – health Canada. Hc-scgcca. 2016. Available at: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/nutrition/vitamin/vita-d-eng.php. Accessed October 17, 2016.
- Holick M. Vitamin D: important for prevention of osteoporosis, cardiovascular heart disease, type 1 diabetes, autoimmune diseases, and some cancers. Southern Medical Journal. 2005;98(10):1024-1026. doi:10.1097/01.smj.0000140865.32054.db.
- Food sources of vitamin D. Dietitians of Canada. 2014. Available at: http://www.dietitians.ca/Your-Health/Nutrition-A-Z/Vitamins/Food-Sources-of-Vitamin-D.aspx. Accessed October 17, 2016.
HEALTHY AGING: MAINTAINING YOUR MOBILITY
Maintain your mobility as you age with these stretches & exercises
Over the years, you can develop habitual ways of using your muscles to move and position yourself. Poor posture and a lack of flexibility may be the result of limited stretching and improper body alignment. With age, your muscles naturally tighten which can lead to poor posture1 and back pain. So, if you’re an older adult, it has never been more important to incorporate stretching and exercise into your daily routine in an effort to aid in good back health. You may already be doing stretches, but as you age it’s important to modify your stretch to minimize your chance of falling while performing them.
Here are three safe techniques older adults can utilize to keep limber:
Upper Body Stretch
Stand slightly further than arm’s length from a wall, facing towards it with your feet shoulder-width apart. Lean forward placing the palms of your hands against the wall, facing upwards. Slowly walk your hands up the wall until they are above your head, focusing on keeping your back straight.
Repetition: Hold the position for 10 to 30 seconds. Slowly walk your hands back down the wall. Repeat at least 3 to 5 more times2.
Lower Back Stretch
First, lie on your back with your legs together, knees bent, and feet flat on the floor. Try to keep both arms and shoulders flat on the floor throughout the stretch. Keeping knees bent and together, slowly lower both legs to one side as far as you comfortably can.
Repetition: Hold position for 10 to 30 seconds. Bring legs back up slowly and repeat toward other side. Continue alternating sides for at least 3 to 5 times on each side3.
Sit securely towards the edge of an armless chair with your legs stretched out in front of you. With your hands holding the sides of the seat of the chair for support, keep your heels on the floor while bending your ankles to point your toes to the sky.
Repetition: Hold the position for 10 to 30 seconds then release. Repeat 3 to 5 times4.
Provided by Dr. Luciano Di Loreto, HBSc., D.C. & Associates
Tips for Preventing Injury
Whether you’ve never had a sports injury and you’re trying to keep it that way or you’ve had an injury and don’t want another, the following tips can help.
- Avoid bending knees past 90 degrees when doing half knee bends.
- Avoid twisting knees by keeping feet as flat as possible during stretches.
- When jumping, land with your knees bent.
- Do warm-up exercises not just before vigorous activities like running, but also before less vigorous ones such as golf.
- Don’t overdo.
- Do warm-up stretches before activity. Stretch the Achilles tendon, hamstring, and quadriceps areas and hold the positions. Don’t bounce.
- Cool down following vigorous sports. For example, after a race, walk or walk/jog for 5 minutes so your pulse comes down gradually.
- Wear properly fitting shoes that provide shock absorption and stability.
- Use the softest exercise surface available, and avoid running on hard surfaces like asphalt and concrete. Run on flat surfaces. Running uphill may increase the stress on the Achilles tendon and the leg itself.
– See more at: https://www.fitforlifewellnessclinic.com/health-concerns/pain-muscle-bone-joint-injuries/specific-sport-injuries/#sthash.wnHM3ydC.dpuf