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

Nutrition and Calorie Tips

Just a walk…

Just a walk… 🚶🏼‍♀️

I shared this back in the summer but as this second lockdown progresses I’ve noticed a lot of my clients are beating themselves up over not doing “enough exercise”. In many cases they’ve been trying to work from home again, and run the household etc. Some days they’re managing to fit in a workout, others they’re not and they’re feeling guilty about it, and worrying about the loss of those activity calories they “should” be burning.

During this time one thing most people are can manage is to walk more, making the most of the allowed outdoor exercise. This is often not viewed as something which contributes to those activity calories, but it’s actually doing more good.

It’s natural to associate cardio workouts with burning loads of calories; you feel sweaty and breathless so you feel like you’re working hard. A 45 min HIIT for example is very tough and regardless how hard you’re working you’re going to be feeling it. However, it may be hard to motivate yourself to commit to a 45 min session at home when there are so many other things shouting for your attention (children (literally!), work, house chores etc). In contrast an hour’s walk doesn’t feel particularly strenuous, it may be something you do anyway to walk the dog, get the shopping or get out the house for bit, and it in fact burns more calories than the workouts.

I did this experiment on myself back in the summer so the numbers will vary according to your age, height, weight and fitness levels but the principal is the same (independent studies show this too). A one hour walk a day will burn significantly more calories than a 45 min HIIT workout. So if you’re not managing a workout every day – don’t stress, especially if you’re managing to go for a walk. In addition 7 days of HIIT workouts is actually NOT a good idea – studies have shown these workouts impact negatively on sleep if you’re doing too many a week. Obviously there are cardiovascular and health benefits to the HIIT workouts which are equally as important as calories burnt so don’t ditch them completely but my point is that you shouldn’t feel guilty if all you manage is a walk on some days.

🤗

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

Nutrition and Calorie Tips

Healthy alternative.. or what you actually wanted?

Healthy alternative.. or what you actually wanted? 🍫 🥜

When trying to lose weight people will often go out of their way to force themselves to choose a “healthy” alternative. If you really fancy a snickers bar you may think you’re better off choosing chocolate covered peanuts instead (nuts are healthy right)? There are nutritional differences between the two options – the chocolate peanuts have higher protein and lower sugar levels, but also higher fat and overall calories.

Both these snacks contain relatively high levels of sugar and significant amounts of fat. The peanuts may have more “good” fats but when it comes down to it the source of that fat makes very little difference to how your body processes it – especially in the context of this example. Both taste good, but if you are really craving a snickers and instead force yourself to have the chocolate peanuts you’re taking in more calories. Now that’s fine if that’s where it ends, but often that craving will still be there. Also the peanuts come in a larger bag so you may not stop at the 50g portion, and end up with the whole bag which is 578 calories! The snickers on the other hand may also give you an emotional boost, as well as an energy one.

So if you’re choosing the chocolate nuts in an effort to lose weight, then think again. If you’re choosing them because you like them then brilliant – keep having them. If you fancy a snickers then have it!

There are no good or bad foods – all foods can be accommodated within a balanced diet. Being aware of the calories in different foods empowers you to make that choice.

🤗

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