Winters are the time of the year when we tend to fall sick more often and feel like lying in bed for long to be cozy. This is the reason why it is recommended to include foods that boost your immunity in your diet. But this is also the season when we experience pain which could be due to earlier injury or long-standing health condition. And the fact that lack of sunshine during winters may further worsen the problem. So this winter, let’s ensure to keep the bone healthy and strong by following a few simple tips shared by Dr. Vivek Dahiya, Additional Director, Fortis Escorts Hospital, Okhla, New Delhi.
Tips For Healthy And Strong Bones In Winters
Winters, especially in the North, is unique because the chilly weather is interspersed with heat and sun. This seasonal change not only calls for ensuring better protection against the skin but also the joints. The lack of sunshine in winter can aggravate low levels of Vitamin D which in turn can affect the bone health and make you more prone to joint pain. Here are a few tips that can help you to enjoy the so-called ‘Delhi ki Sardi’ along with maintaining bone health.
1. Exercise daily: One of the most simple and effective ways to beat winter chills and keep your bones strong and healthy is to exercise daily. For an added advantage, it is advised to exercise outdoors during winter as it helps the body to burn more calories than in cold. Exercising not only increase bone strength but also improves joint mobility. If you suffer from joint pain, then going for a walk outside under the sun and performing simple stretching exercises outdoors can do the trick. Do talk to your doctor before trying out any new or strenuous exercises as any injury to the bones or joints might cause more harm than good.
2. Stay hydrated: During winters, we tend to drink less water due to the cold climate outside. However, lack of water in the body can lead to dehydration. This, in turn, causes loss of water from various parts of the body including the joints leading to pain and inflammation. Hence, it is wise to ensure optimal hydration is maintained for overall health including the bones.
Moreover, drinking water can aid in the production of synovial fluid (which lubricates the joints) thereby helping to reduce inflammation in and around the joints including the cartilages which support the joints. This helps to ease joint pain and muscle pain which is quite common during winters.
3. Get Vitamin D: It goes without saying that winter calls for staying indoors and spending time on your couch to beat the cool weather. However, what most of us forget is the fact this not only lowers the exposure to the sun but can also affect the joints and bones. To stay healthy and improve your bone health in winters, it is important to bask in the sun to get your daily dose of Vitamin D. The vitamin helps to boost the metabolism, improve immunity and maintain your bone health.
You can even include foods rich in Vitamin D such as dairy products, egg yolk, and fish oil to meet the requirement of the vitamin. The recommended dose of Vitamin D for adults is 600-800 IU and for children is 400 IU. You can also opt for Vitamin D supplements to fulfill the requirement of Vitamin D. But is always a good idea to consult your doctor before taking supplements of Vitamin D.
4. Combat pollution: During winters, the weather is unfavorable for easy disbursal of the pollutants, which in turn causes pollution. This is the reason why there has been a steep rise in the level of pollutants in Delhi this winter. These pollutants remain trapped in the atmosphere, which in turn increase the risk of various health problems such as respiratory issues and flaring up of skin conditions and joint pain.
Hence, it is important to follow a few precautionary measures to beat a high level of pollution and stay healthy. These include avoiding all outdoor activities, keeping the windows closed and avoiding burning of incense sticks, wood and candles as it can further aggravate pollution. Also, ensure to use a mask when traveling outdoors to prevent breathing of the polluted air.
5. Stay warm: To fight the cold weather in winters, use of thick garments and multiple layers of clothing is recommended as it helps you to stay warm. It is also imperative to maintain body temperature as it helps in reducing the effect of cold weather on the joints and bones. Moreover, layered clothing also traps the air which acts as an insulator and prevents the loss of heat from the body, thereby helping you to stay warm and healthy.
Additionally, you can even increase the intake of foods which have a high thermic effect such as high protein foods and complex carbohydrates. These foods boost the metabolism which not only keeps us active throughout the day but also ensure we stay warm. Hence, include foods such as poultry, fish, whole grains and green vegetables in the diet in winter for strong bones and stay healthy.
(The article is reviewed by Dr. Lalit Kanodia, General Physician)