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National Vitamin D Awareness Day

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National Vitamin D Awareness Day is a day to recognize vitamin D deficiency as an important health issue. Taking place on the shortest day of the year, Australians are encouraged to Get Up, Get Out and Get Strong in an effort to boost vitamin D, promote optimal health and encourage real behavioral change

GENERATION STRONG: AGEING AUSSIES STAYING STRONGER FOR LONGER

Fitter and healthier than ever, the emerging ‘Gen S’ proves older doesn’t mean weaker

While many believe that getting older inherently means getting weaker, new research has revealed it’s far from all doom and gloom when it comes to ageing, with one in five baby boomers reaching peak fitness levels once they hit the big 5-0.

According to the research, commissioned by Ostelin to mark National Vitamin D Awareness Day 2016 (June 21), it’s actually the younger generation that needs to exercise more caution, with almost a quarter (23%) of those aged 18 to 40 doing little to no exercise at all.

In stark comparison, fifty-plus Australians are smashing ageing stereotypes with over half (58%) working out at least four times a week and close to one in four (24%) claiming to exercise more than ever before. In fact, almost a third said they felt stronger and more energised now than when they were younger.

However, it’s unlikely you’ll find this new ‘Generation Strong’ on the treadmill or in the pool – rather they’re getting fit in more unconventional ways such as playing with their grandkids, pumping iron at the gym or participating in team sports.

Vitamin D Infographic

Aimed at raising awareness of the important link between exercise, Vitamin D and bone health, the experts behind National Vitamin D Awareness Day 2016 are calling for all Australians to follow the lead of their older counterparts and take proactive measures to safeguard their bone strength.

Sport and performance psychologist, Jacqui Louder, said that while older Australians were setting an excellent example by prioritising their bone health, the issue did not just impact the elderly.

“Healthy bones are the pillar of overall strength and fitness for all age groups, so while it’s great to see older Australians embracing this mentality and being proactive, it’s equally important that the younger generation act now in order to safeguard their bones and overall health,” she said.

Louder added that it was worrying that many younger Australians, particularly those in their prime, were choosing to forgo exercise given so many work in sedentary office jobs, meaning they spend most of their days tied to the desk.

“Many are unaware that we reach peak bone mass around the age of 20 to 30. It is therefore vital that all Australians consider the health of their bones from a much younger age, to prevent future conditions such as Osteoporosis.

“Bone health is instrumental to overall health, so it’s incredibly important that the younger generation overcome the mental barriers to exercise – and getting up, getting out and getting active on National Vitamin D Awareness Day is a great place to start.”

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With additional research showing that moderate impact weight bearing exercises, paired with strength and power training is ideal for maintaining strong bones2, leading Vitamin D expert Professor Robin Daly said younger people would do well to start incorporating such activity into their lives.

“Although ongoing education around the importance of Vitamin D and bone health seems to be working, there is still a need to combat the younger generation’s laissez-faire attitude towards exercise,” he said.

“Programs that incorporate moderate impact weight bearing activities such as step-ups, jumping side-to-side and skipping, combined with progressive strength training, have been shown to slow bone deterioration and improve muscle strength, mass and function2.

“Coupled with this, getting outdoors for approximately 7-30 minutes at midday3 each day during winter will help to maintain your Vitamin D levels which is also critical for bone health. Where this is not achievable, eating Vitamin D rich foods such as fatty fish (sardines, herring, mackerel, tuna and salmon), fortified milk, margarines and dairy blend spreads are recommended.”

To tackle the issue and help change behaviours, experts are calling on Australians to Get Up, Get Out and Get Strong on Tuesday 21 June, 2016 for National Vitamin D Awareness Day. If you’re concerned about your vitamin D levels, ask your GP or pharmacist to recommend the best tool for you.

1 Research conducted among 1000 employed Australians by the Online Research Unit between 29 February and 2 March 2016

2 Effects of a Targeted Multimodal Exercise Program Incorporating High-Speed Power Training on Falls and Fracture Risk Factors in Older Adults: A Community-based randomized Controlled Trial, Robin M Daly et al., Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, Vol. 29, No. 1, January 2014, pp 182-191

3 Osteoporosis Australia Medical & Scientific Advisory Committee, Summary recommendations for vitamin D, March 2015, http://www.osteoporosis.org.au/vitamin-d