Top Tips to Maintain Healthy Bones This Winter

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.

Jamie Francis

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.

Ann Wall

Professional Dancer

  • 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.