Gardening is not only a good way to enjoy some time in the fresh air, but is also a great form of exercise.
Like all physical activity, it’s important to look after your health and protect against any aches or pains. Here Lindsay Baldry from nutrition expert Pharma Nord gives some tips on how you can stay physically fit and pain free through the right nutrition and supplements.
Did you know that digging and pulling out weeds for half an hour can burn approximately 200 calories? Physical activity of this nature can help strengthen bones and joints, however it can also put pressure on them as you continually bend and stretch.
Looking after your bone and joint health is particularly important as we get older. From around 35 years of age you gradually start to lose bone density, this is a normal part of the ageing process but for some people it can lead to osteoporosis and increased risk of fractures.
So what can you do to protect your bone and joint health?
Make sure you get enough magnesium in your diet, or through supplements, as it is vital for the structure and strength of bones. Magnesium works together with calcium so it is important to achieve the right balance of these minerals. Food sources include beans, nuts and whole grains such as brown rice and whole wheat bread.
A number of factors can lead to you being deficient in magnesium including a reliance on processed foods, alcohol, stress, smoking and ageing. If choosing a supplement to top up your levels choose one with the hydroxide acetate and carbonate forms of magnesium as they can be best absorbed by your body. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) is 400mg/day.
To protect your joints, your body needs MSM and silica. MSM is a naturally occurring sulphur which can be found in foods such as fresh fruit, vegetables and meat. Silica is found in plant derived foods like unrefined cereals and rice. Both have an important role in the forming of bone and joint tissues and bone mineralisation, but they are readily lost from foods during food processing. Taking an MSM and silica supplement can help to reduce pain and increase joint mobility.
From pushing a wheelbarrow to raking, gardening forces muscles to do work. By working our muscles, we are able to strengthen them. Gardening also has the added benefit of working different muscle groups at the same time, but this can result in sore muscles and fatigue.
How can we protect our muscles from fatigue and ensure we have enough energy?
All of our cells need a vitamin-like substance called coenzyme Q10 to produce energy. Some can be found in food but most is produced within our bodies. The challenge is our natural Q10 levels decline from our mid-twenties, which can leave us and our muscles feeling tired and weak. If you’re in need of a top up you could try Bio-Quinone Q10.
There are many benefits to spending time in the sunshine. Up to 50 per cent of adults in the UK are deficient in vitamin D due to lack of exposure to strong sunlight. This can impact our health as our bodies need vitamin D to absorb calcium and protect our bones, as well as to boost our immune system.
That said, too much time in the sun can increase your risk of sunburn so remember to wear sun lotion when gardening. Choose a sun screen with both UVA and UVB protection. UVB radiation mainly affects the outer layer of the skin and results in redness and burning, while UVA penetrates deeper into the skin and can affect the living cells in the dermis. It’s thought that over-exposure to UVA radiation can accelerate skin ageing by breaking down collagen and elastin tissues.