Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Vitamin D and COVID-19

Tuesday Tip: Vitamin D and COVID-19 🦠

There are mixed messages in the media about the link between Covid 19 and Vitamin D so I thought it was worth a quick overview.

Vitamin D is a fat soluble steroid hormone and is important for bone health, and regulation of the immune system. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to numerous health problems including muscle weakness, various cancers, MS, Asthma, TB, heart disease, type I and II diabetes, depression, Alzheimers etc. Very few foods naturally contain vitamin D, so sun exposure is the main way that we obtain this vitamin. Even before the pandemic the recommendation was that people should consider taking vitamin D supplements between October and March (darker months) as there is a high rate of deficiency in the UK.

Many studies have shown that vitamin D can reduce the risk of getting acute viral respiratory tract infections and pneumonia, and can help with common colds and flu. So what about COVID-19? Studies are limited but a recent study found that 82.2% of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 were deficient in vitamin D. This was compared to the healthy control group of people without COVID-19, where 47.2% of people were vitamin D deficient. Studies have shown a correlation between lower vitamin D levels and higher levels of COVID-19 cases in the population. Some studies have also shown a correlation between vitamin D deficiency and COVID-19 severity and mortality. There are now 30 or so studies showing that optimal blood levels of vitamin D reduces the risk of covid-19 risk of infection, risk of severe disease and risk of dying. Many researchers now regard the evidence as ‘overwhelming’.

More research is needed, but there is little to be lost in supplementing with Vitamin D. Vitamin D supplements are inexpensive and have low risk of toxicity but do bring significant benefits, not just in relation to COVID-19, but to overall health and well being. So what dosage should you take? You need a minimum of 10 micrograms a day (or 400 IU (international Units)), and the maximum daily safe dose is 100 micrograms (4000 IU), so something in between is a good place to aim for.

Happy Tuesday 🤗

Xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Losing fitness in lockdown?

Tuesday Tip: Losing fitness in lockdown? 🏃🏼‍♀️

I posted this back in Spring but I know from the messages I’ve received that a worry for many of you (me included) is losing your fitness during lockdown, even more so as many of us had just got back into our fitness routines. Well don’t panic – it’s not as bad as you may expect.

Studies show that muscle loss doesn’t occur until about 4 weeks BUT that’s only if you stop training completely! And even then it’s minor and happens in tiny increments each week. If you continue to workout even just with occasional bodyweight workouts then you’ll preserve muscle mass, and post lock-down you’ll be back to normal within a few weeks. If you have no equipment then focus on full body circuits, increase intensity by adjusting the tempo, and increase the volume (number of reps) e.g. a 10 bodyweight move circuit repeated 5 times etc a few times a week.

Studies show that over 12 weeks there’s only a 16% reduction in aerobic fitness overall. If you can run or cycle then this will help, but even long fast paced walks will help. If you’re into cardio classes then you’re sorted as HIIT workouts lend themselves to small spaces. You can do your own little HIIT workout, but if you struggle to motivate yourself to work hard then there’s loads of free workouts online now – see my previous posts or ask me for links). Another fab way to replicate cardio workouts is with skipping – 2 mins a few times a day as a cardio blast!

Specific fitness losses will relate to your own training/exercise history, types of exercise you do (fitness is maintained for longer if you did a variety of types of exercise e.g. not just running, and genetic and lifestyle factors. However, if you’re a regular exerciser it will take longer to lose fitness as things like increased capillary density take much longer to disappear.

So basically – don’t fret! You’re going to be fine! I hope these tips help. If you want any specific advice then please ask, anytime.

Happy Tuesday 🤗

Xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Boost your B Vits

Tuesday Tip: Boost your B vits 🥦🥚🍗

As the nights get darker and the temperatures drop here it’s easy for our energy levels to take a nose dive. Couple this with the stress many will experience with the new lockdown and it’s easy for our health to suffer. Many studies have shown how important B vitamins are in helping to boost and maintain energy levels, and manage stress. All the B vitamins including B1, B3, B6 and B12 are involved to some degree in helping the body release energy from the food we eat and keeping the nervous system functioning. Many are also water soluble and excreted by the body which means you have to consume them regularly to say healthy. So when energy is low and stress levels are high adding some extra B to your diet will help to give you a lift.

Great sources of B vitamins include dark leafy greens, poultry, salmon, eggs, almonds, whole grains, soya beans, fresh fruit etc So grab a handful of greens and whack them in your morning smoothie, or snack on some almonds, or have an omelette for brekkie. Or you could consider taking a good B-complex supplement. This is going to help support you and get you feeling full of beans again! ✨👯

Happy Tuesday! 🤗

xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Lockdown Mental Health

Tuesday Tip: Lockdown Mental Health 💜

With news of the second lockdown it’s natural to be feeling anxious, upset, frustrated etc. This situation is out of our control so it’s important to focus on things we can control to help protect our mental health. Here are a few tips:

#1 Acknowledgement

Acknowledge that this is a sh*t situation and it’s ok to be sad, mad, angry etc about it. It’s ok to feel anxious about it.

#2 Moderate news consumption

It’s great to stay informed but be mindful of obsessing over the news and updates. Avoid scaremongering news and find positive stories or reliable data instead.

#3 Stay active

Exercise keeps you fit and healthy (stimulating the immune system), and needs concentration, so is a distraction. It combats physiological symptoms of anxiety e.g. nausea, muscle tension etc and endorphins make you feel good, as will fresh air and sunshine if you can get out.

#4 Eat well

It’s easy to resort to self destructive behaviours e.g. booze, overeating etc. Remember alcohol is a depressant so won’t help your mood, and overeating can lead to a cycle of guilt. Aim for balanced meals and include all the foods you enjoy, in moderation.

#5 Routine

Set yourself a routine; including leisure time like walks, baths, calls to friends or family etc. If you’re working from home again set boundaries and a consistent daily work routine and stick to it! Take breaks, accept that you won’t be as productive at home. Stick to a good sleep routine; get up at similar times.

#6 Unfollow

If people or accounts are causing you stress mute or unfollow them. You’ll probably be on social media more over the next few weeks so make sure your feed includes people/content you actually want to see or that makes you feel better.

#7 Connections

Connect with friends/family rather debating with strangers on social media. If you have someone you’re close to make a pact to keep an eye on each other, or a code phrase for when you’re not doing ok. It’s also ok to want, and to take some alone time from those you live or work with too.

Above all, be kind – to yourself and each other. 💜 Take care, and if anyone needs anything I’m always here – anytime.

Happy Tuesday 🤗

Xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Post-workout Bloat

Tuesday Tip: Post-workout Bloat 💨

Working out usually leaves you feeling good and full of endorphins, but it’s not uncommon to feel bloated after working out. So what’s going on?

One main cause of bloat is air in the colon, which makes you feel uncomfy and makes the abdomen distend. When you’re working out hard you’re breathing heavily and gulping down air, some of which goes down into the digestive system.

Working out also puts your body into a “stressful” situation; your flight or fight response is engaged which means blood is diverted away from your digestive system. The Gastro-intestinal tract slows down, so the air doesn’t get moved out quickly, hence the build up and bloat. Also any recently eaten food won’t get digested either.

In addition that fight or flight response results in production of the stress hormone cortisol. That promotes the production of glucose by the liver, the breakdown of muscle protein into amino acids that are then converted to glucose for energy, and the secretion of glucose into the bloodstream for ready-to-use energy. All good things during a workout but elevated cortisol can lead to elevated blood pressure, which results in fluid retention. This also leads to a further bloating.

How to prevent it.

⁃ Try inhaling through your nose and out your mouth. Focus on taking longer, slower breaths.

⁃ Avoid eating too close to your workout.

⁃ Avoid fatty foods, sugary drinks or very high fibre foods for a pre workout snack – they take longer to digest and can cause bloating

⁃ Stick to simple carbs like fruit or easy to digest starches e.g. toast

⁃ Avoid commercial “pre workout” gels etc – these often cause digestive discomfort until you’re used to using them (and even then they still cause issues).

⁃ Stay hydrated to avoid water retention

Finally, if you’re new to exercise or just ramping it up then expect it to take a while for your body to get used to it. The stomach is a muscle and needs to be trained to handle the up and down motion of running/HIIT workouts.

Happy Tuesday 🤗

Xx