The mornings are dark; the evenings are dark and the temperature is dropping! It can only mean one thing……Winter is in full swing!!
This time of year is hard, the days are shorter, you feel less like going outside, exercising, eating right or looking after you. Does that sound about right? Yep, I’m with you!
Right now is the most important time of year to make sure you are looking after yourself and staying on track. As we know there are a lot of bugs about, (especially if you have young children!) the weather is cold and with shorter days there is less sunlight. This can lead to Seasonal Affective Disorder (aka SAD), and all simply due to a lack of Vitamin D. Symptoms of SAD include persistent low mood, loss of pleasure or interest in daily life, irritability, feeling lethargic, sleeping longer than normal, finding it hard to get up in the morning and craving “empty” carbs and potentially gaining weight.
Vitamin D is also known as the “Sunshine” vitamin as it is produced by the body when the skin is exposed to the sun. It is important for several functions throughout the body so a deficiency can have a detrimental impact on your health and when you relate this to sport and fitness it can have an even bigger impact on your performance.
Vitamin D is enables our bodies to absorb Calcium and promote bone growth. Calcium also plays an important role in muscle contraction, transmitting messages through the nerves, and the release of hormones. If you aren’t getting enough calcium in your diet, the body takes calcium from your bones to ensure normal cell function, which can lead to weakened bones. In more extreme cases too little Vitamin D and calcium will result in soft bones which are fragile and misshapen, in Children this is known as rickets and in adults it is Osteomalacia. A major function of Vitamin D is to protect you against infections and illnesses, as well as maintaining the health of the cardiovascular system by helping to regulate cells, blood pressure, and blood sugar level throughout the body.
The skeleton is our very foundation and if we allow our bones to fail us then life would become a lot more difficult.
Imagine yourself in the middle of a training session and you are about to get a PB but something isn’t right? You’re not sure what it is but it results in an injury, could you have prevented it? Have you been maintaining your flexibility? Warming up and cooling down for a sufficient time? Have you been recovering properly? Are you giving your body all the nutrients and vitamins it needs? If the answer is no to one or more of these questions then you need to look at reviewing your training programme, your nutrition and your functionality. The TRAINING SHED Team have the skills and knowledge to help you with all of these across our three areas of expertise, so ask one of us today.
A Vitamin D deficiency has also been linked to several diseases such as breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, heart disease, depression and weight gain, among others. The one on that list that sticks out for me isn’t the cancers which can have a devastating effect on your life and those around you but Weight Gain.
Again, bringing our thinking back to your training and fitness, it doesn’t matter what you are training for, whether your goal is to lose body fat, move more, get healthier or for your next event or competition. If you are not fuelling your body correctly and providing everything it needs through your diet and lifestyle (here I mean getting outside, even if just for a walk in the sunshine no matter the temperature) then you may not be seeing the results you are hoping for. You may have hit a plateau! They can happen for a number of reasons. It can be difficult to say exactly what caused it but it will naturally last for around 3 weeks however you can try to prevent it. Take a moment to answer these questions:
- How long have you been doing the same gym workouts?
- Are you still eating the right amount of calories for your body?
- Has your goal changed?
Regularly updating your training programme and making sure you are getting enough fuel into your body to power your everyday life and your training will considerably lower your chances of hitting a plateau. Have a chat to one of the SHED Personal Trainers about a new programme or about some PT sessions to revitalise your training and progression.
A healthy balanced diet should give you everything your body needs from your macro nutrients; protein, carbs and fats and micro nutrients such as vitamins. Vitamin D does naturally occur in some fish, fish liver oils and egg yolks as well as fortified dairy products. However if you have any special dietary requirements, have certain beliefs, follow a vegan diet, work nights or are in an office 9-5, it may be that you’re not getting everything you need from your food and lifestyle. In this case a dietary supplement may be needed to ensure that you are.
At different times of the year we have different requirements and during the Winter it is likely that due to the shorter days and the modern lives we lead that we are not getting enough Vitamin D. If you are you going to work in the dark and getting home in the dark this is probably you!?
I, along with the NHS , recommend that you consider taking a daily supplement during the autumn and winter months to ensure you are getting the recommended requirement. Medical professionals recommend that all of us use Vitamin D supplementation “to ensure that the majority of the UK population has satisfactory vitamin D blood levels throughout the year, in order to protect musculoskeletal health”. And as described above those benefits effect several things throughout your bodies and mind so I believe it’s well worth a try!
AM Sport offer a Vitamin D tablet [available at the SHED] which is made from high quality ingredients. One tablet gives you the recommended daily intake for an adult (15mg or 600IU). Priced at £20.00 for 60 tablets.
If you have any questions or would like some more information please ask one of friendly TEAM next time you are in the SHED.
written by Emma Silvester [SHED Personal Trainer]