Warm Up for Winter Activities!!!

 

It’s getting to be that time of year. We’re looking to our beautiful Two People Downhill Skiingsurroundings and getting outside to take advantage of the winter weather and activities that Squamish and Whistler have to offer. But how do we take part in the adventure, without the injury? Whether you hit the slopes every weekend, love to trek through the trails, or spend most of the winter curled up by a roaring fire, here’s a few hints to stay fit, healthy and injury free when you venture outside from some winter fun.

 

Don’t Strain if You Haven’t Trained: Many winter sports injuries happen towards the end of the day, when we are over-exerted and our body is fatigued. A majority of these injuries can be prevented if people prepare for their sports by keeping in good physical condition, staying alert, and stopping activity when they are tired or in pain. Your muscles are more prone to injury after long periods of inactivity, so it is important to do some off-season conditioning, such as lifting weights and stretching.Snowshoe Tracks

Do a Long Warm Up: Cold muscles, tendons and ligaments are more vulnerable to injury and therefore, it is very important to get a good warm-up, especially in colder weather. The goal of a warm up is to increase blood flow to the muscles, increasing your mobility and readying your body for activity.

Drink Lots of Fluids: One of the biggest winter mistakes is not staying well hydrated. In order for our body to function efficiently, we need adequate amounts of fluids and electrolytes. In the winter, we often don’t realize we are sweating because perspiration evaporates almost instantly in cold, dry air.  Drink water often, even if you aren’t thirsty and you will perform better and prevent muscle cramps and weakness.

Dress for the Chill: Often during winter activities, your body temperature undergoes extreme shifts. It’s always a good idea to wear layers of light, moisture-resistant (wicking), breathable clothing so you’ll be able to adjust to any condition. Also remember SUN protection. Snow reflects damaging UV rays back to you face, so be sure to wear sunscreen and sunglasses during sunny winter Three people playing in snowactivities.

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Vitamin D Goes Far Beyond Bone Health

Scientists have known for decades that Vitamin D plays a vital role in Skeleton "Flexing" Humerus Boneproducing healthy bones. Vitamin D promotes the absorption of calcium, which is necessary for bone development, bone remodeling and preventing bone loss, which can lead to osteoporosis later on in life.  For centuries, we primarily obtained vitamin D from exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays, which was easily achieved when humans worked predominately outside.  However, we now spend most of our working days indoors, only longing to be outside enjoying the sun.

Recent research has demonstrated just how widespread low vitamin D levels are throughout our society. Studies have shown that vitamin D deficiency in some North American groups is as high as 80%. The elderly and pregnant women seem to be especially susceptible, and it is also a bigger problem for people with dark skin, which is not as efficient in producing vitamin D from sun exposure.

Woman being warmed by sunshine, looking happyWhere you live also impacts your vitamin D levels. If you live in the Northern United States or Canada (!!), you’re more likely to be vitamin D deficient as the longer, darker winters in these areas restrict sunlight hours.  Another complication is that despite the importance of the sun to vitamin D synthesis, it is prudent to limit our skin exposure to the sun and UV radiation (from tanning beds).   UV radiation is a carcinogen responsible for most cases of skin cancer.

Another factor, which complicates getting sufficient levels of vitamin D is that it is difficult to obtain through our diet.  Natural sources of vitamin D are few and most of us cannot get our required levels of vitamin D solely from foods that we eat.  Some of the foods that are high is vitamin D include; cod liver oil, salmon, mackerel and fortified milk and orange juice.

 

Surprising Research:

In the last 5 years there has been a steady stream of news on vitamin D and silhouette of person standing in front of sunriseits wide-ranging effects on preventing diseases and improving chronic health problems. According to a review of vitamin D published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, people who consumed vitamin D supplements had an overall lower risk of death from any cause. Other research has produced compelling evidence of vitamin D’s impact on cancer.  At the University of California, researchers discovered that consuming 1000IU of vitamin D daily slashed the risk of colon, prostate, breast and ovarian cancers up to 50%. Other studies have revealed reductions in all cancer occurrences in men & women taking vitamin D and amazing 45% reduction in deaths caused by digestive cancers.

This versatile vitamin may also provide additional support for weight loss. Some research demonstrated that participants involved in a calorie-restricting diet, saw a greater reduction in abdominal fat as well as losing more weight, when thet increased their levels of vitamin D.

Muscle Pain & Vitamin D

A deficiency in vitamin D may also play a role in muscle pain. Patients who were suffering from non-specific muscular pain were found to have unusually low levels of vitamin D, according to a study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings. A study in Spine showed that 83% of low back pain sufferers also had insufficient levels of vitamin D. When their vitamin D intake was boosted, nearly all of the patients showed improvement in pain symptoms. This deficiency in vitamin D has also been demonstrated in children, an age group that had previously been considered at low risk.

Other investigations show vitamin D has a positive impact on rheumatoid arthrtitis, multiple sclerosis, and type 1 diabetes.