Dr Nicky Keay, BA, MA (Cantab), MB, BChir, MRCP
Sports and Dance Endocrinologist
- The main source of vitamin D is through the action of sunlight on the skin. As sunlight is sadly lacking during winter months in UK, NHS recommends we all take daily vitamin D supplementation during winter. For athletes, important that this is sports informed supplement.
- Other nutrients important for bone health can be sourced through a varied diet, including calcium, iron and adequate protein intake
- Weight bearing and resistance type exercise are important factors to support healthy bones. If practicing a sport/type of exercise that does not include these elements of bone loading, then advisable to try and include.
Cyclist: ActiveEdgeRace Team
- Vitamin D & Immunity – Despite riding outside, there is not enough strong sunlight over the winter in the UK to maintain adequate levels of vitamin D. It is therefore sensible to take a Sports Informed vitamin D supplement, as low vitamin D levels lead to reduced immunity, therefore meaning you risk getting ill more often.
- Varied and Adequate Diet – Ensure you are fuelling adequately during winter rides and refuelling with a high carbohydrate and high protein meal when you get back. Eat a varied diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables.
- Weight Training – Cycling is a non-weight bearing sport, therefore it is important to include off the bike strength work year-round and particularly over the winter
- Sleep! – Adequate sleep is vital for both health and performance on the bike, so ensure you get at least 7 or 8 hours each night.
- Make sure you take a good vitamin D supplement, as dancers spend a lot of time indoors for rehearsals and performances so it can be hard to get much sunlight on a daily basis.
- Ensure that you warm up and cool down properly and that dance shoes are supportive and in good condition.
- Incorporate good cross training programmes to keep all muscle groups strong (I like to do resistance and weight training to further protect my bones).
- Nutrition is key, ensure a good balanced diet with plenty of calcium rich foods like greens and dairy products (or fortified alternatives). I like to have Oily fish and fish with small bones at least 3 times a week to support my body and training.