Living a well-balanced and healthy lifestyle will help keep your bones strong and healthy.
Living a healthy lifestyle may sound overwhelming with so many different avenues of your body to care for. Bone health… is that one more thing to consider? Bone health is a very important element in the aging process however it doesn’t need to add to the stress. Living a well-balanced and healthy lifestyle will help keep your bones strong and healthy. Here are five key points to maintaining good bone health that also will help keep your health in check:
Strengthening and light weight bearing exercises helps to improve stimulation to further bone growth and development. Light resistance exercise is enough to activate the tendons and activate the bones. Exercise is good for the body, mind and soul, as it releases hormones into the body and increases the blood circulation throughout the body to help keep our pump moving. A good exercise program is one that combines cardiovascular and strengthening exercises. Ask your physiotherapist to help find the right combination for you. Different conditions call for different exercises, for example, weight bearing exercises are recommended for osteoporosis, while for osteoarthritis, low impact cardiovascular exercises.
A nutritious diet doesn’t necessarily mean you need to spend more on your grocery list and longer time with your meal preparation. Eating whole foods is one of the best ways to get the most out of your nutrient checklist. Vitamin C, D, calcium, magnesium and even Zinc play an important role in bone health. Smoothies and salads are a great way to jam pack the nutrients into one meal. Bone health is a combination of good nutrition and a healthy body weight. Antioxidants and nutrients help to prevent cell damage and reduce the risk of demineralizing of bones. Proteins are another key component that helps with the repair process. All diets can meet their nutritional requirements with some simple diet modifications. Nuts, green leafy vegetables, beans and lentils are a great place to start. Be sure to ask yourself before bed “have I had something from these groups today?”.
Avoid excessive alcohol or smoking
Smoking and alcohol consumption can reduce blood flow and increase the damage to underlying cells causing quicker deterioration. Maintaining a healthy body weight is ensuring you are not too underweight or overweight. Excessive smoking and alcohol can alter your metabolism making it more difficult to manage your weight.
Postural awareness is being mindful of the stresses and forces travelling through the body. One of the major causes of osteoarthritis is excess forces on a particular part of the joint from poor alignment and muscular imbalances. Postural correction has no age limits however it is better if started early to prevent the effects of long-term strains on the body. Bone health heavily depends on the load it carries, and how it is being carried. A fine balance is noted between tight and weak muscles. Identifying the difference and correcting it is the key to success.
Managing risk of falls/injury prevention
Aging can cause some natural deterioration to bone density making it more vulnerable to fractures and injury. Lack of strength and flexibility can result in poor balance and altered gait patterns. Therefore, progressively working on a strengthening and stretch program can significantly reduce the risk of deterioration.
Speak to your doctor if you are concerned about your bone health and ask what you can do to manage your concerns. Talk to your doctor about supplements that may be suitable for you. Physiotherapists specialize in movement therapy and can help you find an exercise program individualized just for you. Bone health is a vital component of the aging process. It can be maintained by finding the right combination of a healthy diet and exercise program. The aging process is fascinating and is often taken for granted. You may feel that you don’t need to worry about it till later because you feel young and healthy. Remember the best of cars still need regular care and maintenance so why would our body be any different. There is no age to caring for yourself; the key is consistency and making these changes a part of your daily routine rather than a task on your to-do list. Successful people encourage us to “keep the end result in mind,” so its time to be proactive and not reactive. A few simple changes can take you a long way in reaching your health and wellness goals.
Key take away:
- Load up on those veggies and get your proteins in. You will be happy to know that a higher calorie diet is better than lower in maintaining good health. Healthy calories are the secret.
- Increase your walking tolerance by parking further away and keeping things out of reach so it gets you up and moving throughout the day.
- Cut that cigarette or wine craving and trade it in for something more fun and healthier.
- Pull those shoulders back and widen your stance so you can feel the weight through both your legs equally and get your head over your shoulder.
- Get your dancing shoes on and take the rust out of your moves. Challenge your balance in a safe environment.
Take the test: Can you lift your foot to get it up on the next step without using the rail for support. If not, it is worth learning some exercises to help improve your strength, endurance and balance.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Sumen Singla-Goyal is a registered physical therapist and osteopathic manual therapist. She has been actively serving the Lower Mainland for over 10 years. She is very passionate about her work and wants to empower her patients and community with tools for healthy living.