Springtime is a season of renewal – trees and plants revive, warm sunshine returns, and the days get longer. If you’ve experienced this past record-cold winter, you’re certainly glad that in the Northern Hemisphere spring is here and summer is on the way.
Let’s face it, it’s easy to get into an unhealthy rut during the cold, dark months. So today’s post is an inspirational reminder to break out of the winter “blahs” and take advantage of the new season to build your bones.
Fractures Increase In Winter!
Most of us recognize that walking on slippery ice and snow can raise your risk of falling. And, not surprisingly, a recent University of Michigan study showed that fractures (particularly of the wrist) increase during the winter, by more than 40%.1
So with the ice melting and the temperatures rising, spring is the perfect time to start afresh and commit to building your bones!
To help you get started, here are …
5 Ways You Can Take Advantage Of The Warmer Weather To Build Your Bones.
1. Eat Delicious, Bone-Nourishing Fruits And Vegetables In Season
Spring and summer are a perfect time to delve into seasonal produce and get creative in the kitchen. Enjoy the sunshine strolling through the isles of your local Farmer’s Market to shop for what’s in season in your area, and if it’s something you’ve never eaten, why not try it? If it’s something very familiar, you can explore new ways to prepare it.
Here is a list of seasonal foods for spring and summer. All of them (except for rhubarb) are Foundation Foods, which contain nutrients that are essential for strong, healthy bones. These foods form the basis for the pH-balanced Save Our Bones diet.
- Beets (and beet greens)
- Citrus fruits (these come into season in winter, but the season extends into early spring)
The Save Our Bones website is chock-full of recipes and bone-healthy food ideas, but if you’d like a compilation of over 200 creative pH-balanced recipes that are rich in bone-building nutrients, if you haven’t yet, you’ll want to check out Bone Appétit, the companion cookbook to the Osteoporosis Reversal Program.
2. Get Out In The Sunlight
When it comes to bone-building supplements, you might think of tablets, pills, or capsules. But Vitamin D, a Foundation Supplement in the Program, is best obtained from sunlight.
Very few foods contain this crucial, bone-building vitamin that also acts as a hormone in the body. And there is conflicting information about how much Vitamin D you should take in supplement form. When you obtain it from sunlight, however, your body regulates the amount so there’s no risk of overdose.
Savers already know that Vitamin D synthesis occurs when the skin is exposed to sunlight. So your skin needs to be free from sunblock or sunscreen. To avoid skin damage, keep your time in the sun short – no more than 20 minutes if you have light skin, 30 minutes for dark-skinned individuals. This also varies depending on the time of the day.
And break out the bathing suit for your daily dose of Vitamin D! The more skin that’s exposed to the sunlight at one time, the better.
3. Stay Well Hydrated
Drinking plenty of water is crucial for your bones all year round, but it bears special mention in spring and summer. Your body starts producing a lot more sweat in warm weather to keep you cool, creating a much greater need for water. And in the spring, the temperatures can get warm unexpectedly.
Keeping yourself hydrated in warm weather is not just about staying cool. Dehydration actually hurts your bones, because your body produces bone-destroying stress hormones in response to the lack of water. If you are chronically dehydrated, it’s more than likely your bones are losing density.
So remember to carry water with you even if the day is not hot (yet) and drink plenty of it. The reality is, if you wait until you are hot and thirsty to take a drink, you are already dehydrated.
4. Spend 30 Minutes A Day Outdoors Practicing Weight-Bearing Exercises
Walking is one of the simplest (and one of my favorite!) weight-bearing outdoor exercises to build bone. There are plenty of other weight bearing activities too, such as jogging, tennis, lifting free weights, and aerobics. This is also a good way to get your skin exposed to sunshine – and it will improve your mood. This brings us to the 5th and final tip…
5. Have A Positive, Optimistic Attitude About Your Bone Health
Cold winter temperatures can bring on a gloomy mood, sending your body into chronic stress and the production of bone-destroying cortisol. On the other hand, a happy mood is excellent for your bone health, as explained in the Osteoporosis Reversal Program. In fact, all of Chapter 14 is devoted to the subject of stress reduction and how it benefits your bones. It gives you 10 easy yet powerful ways to reduce stress and other practical ideas to lower cortisol levels.
And as the weather warms up, here’s more good news for you. Research has revealed that warm weather – in contrast to very cold or hot weather – improves more than just your mood.
It turns out that warm, sunny weather actually boosts brain function in multiple ways. The study found that the more time people spent outdoors in the spring, the better their memory, cognitive function, and mood.2
So take advantage of all spring has to offer, and your bones will thank you!
Till next time,
1 University of Michigan Health System. “As the temperature drops, risk of fracture rises.” ScienceDaily. 3 February 2014. Web. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140203101003.htm
2 Keller, Matthew C., et al. “A Warm Heart and a Clear Head: The Contingent Effects of Weather on Mood and Cognition.” Psychological Science. 2005. 16(9),724-731.