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WOMEN, CALCIUM, VITAMIN D, AND FITNESS
We always hear how we need to exercise in order to be as healthy and fit as possible as we age. For women, full-time work and motherhood can often get in the way of a regular workout routine. Because our time is limited, we need to be sure we are getting the most out of our diet and limited workout time. In order for a fitness program to succeed, you need to consider making sure you are getting the right nutrients as well.
We have all heard that we need calcium to help prevent osteoporosis and folic acid when we are pregnant but, in addition to these nutrients, there are others that make a difference when it comes to getting the most out of your exercise program.
Calcium is essential for bone growth and helps keep your bones healthy. Keeping your bones strong is essential to reduce the risks of stress fractures, especially when you are exercising or participating in any type of sports. The Institute of Medicine recommends teenage girls receive at least 1,300mg of calcium a day through diet or supplements. Women between the age of 19 and 50 should receive at least 1,000mg and women over the age of 50 should receive at least 1,200mg.
Vitamin D is a nutrient that is found in fortified dairy products such as milk. It is also made by your body through direct exposure to sunlight. Vitamin D helps to regulate the calcium in your body and works to keep bones strong. It is also essential for proper muscle function.
However, according to a study published in the "Archives of Internal Medicine," as many as 77 percent of Americans are vitamin D deficient. Deficiency can result in weak bones, fatigue and muscle pain and weakness.
The recommended daily allowance for vitamin D is 600IU (International Units) for teenage girls and women up to the age of 70. Women over the age of 71 should receive 800IU. You can get this amount through as little as 15 minutes of direct sunlight a day, except during the winter months. While milk and other foods are fortified with vitamin D, getting enough through your diet is very difficult. Talk to your physician about the need for possible vitamin D supplements.
Making sure you are putting the essential vitamins and minerals into your body is just as important as making sure you keep active and get regular exercise. In some ways, it is even more important. Deficiencies in certain nutrients can actually work against you when it comes to fitness. Before starting any new exercise program talk with your doctor and make sure that your diet is meeting the needs of your muscles and bones!
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