Winter is Bad for the Bones
Now that you are chilled to the bone; think about what is happening to your bones during the winter months. The winter can be bad for the bones because there is less sun, more ice and less exercise occuring; none of this is good for bone health. You should take counteractive measures to ensure year-round bone health despite the seasonal changes.
Less sun means that your body is making less Vitamin D. Vitamin D is produced when sunlight hits the skin and triggers a series of chemical reactions to produce Vitamin D. People in northern latitudes with less year round sun exposure have to be very mindful of the fact that their bodies do not produce this essential vitamin in large enough quantities. In order to counteract the lack of sunlight, more Vitamin D supplements should be consumed during the winter months in order to keep the bones healthy and strong.
Even the strongest bone will be at risk when it is icy. One slip and fall can break a bone in two. Now is the time when the fall prevention strategies can really help prevent a painful fracture. Do more exercises that can help improve your balance. Avoid medications that cause dizziness and drowsiness because they increase the risk of falls. Use assistive devices like canes, walkers, walking sticks and trekking poles to improve stability. One fall during the winter can ruin your entire year.
Because it is cold and icy outside, you may not be doing your normal exercise routine. Exercise helps to keep the bones healthy and should be done despite rain, sleet or snow. You need to develop a winter exercise routine. Join a gym for the winter months. Buy warmer clothing to enable you to go outside. Take up a winter sport like snow-shoeing or cross-country skiing. Just keep moving, your bones will appreciate the workout.
Winter does not have to be bad for your bones depending on what you do to make up for the lack of sunlight, the presence of slippery conditions, and the lack of good weather conducive to exercise. By taking a little more Vitamin D, taking precautions to guard against falls, and taking the time to exercise despite the cold weather, you can maintain good bone strength and health all winter long.
Christina Lasich, M.D., wrote about chronic pain and osteoarthritis for HealthCentral. She is physiatrist in Grass Valley, California. She specializes in pain management and spine rehabilitation.