Bone and Joint Health Week is this October 12th to the 20th. More emphasis is being put on seniors and bone health. The number of those with osteoporosis is growing and bone thinning can start decades before you become a senior. Yes, we lose bone as we age but osteoporosis is not a necessary part of aging. Fractures from osteoporosis can cause permanent disability as well as death. Bones usually reach their peak mass when you are about 30 years old. After that, more bone is lost. Some seniors have other musculoskeletal conditions such as arthritis, back pain, deformities of the spine and conditions they have had since childhood.
There are ways to keep your bones and joints healthy as you age, including:
- Low impact exercise. Running and lifting weights can put stress on your joints. Try something with a lower impact such as swimming, bicycling, slow dancing and walking.
- Extend your range of motion. As you age, you may notice your joints becoming stiffer. You can’t turn your neck as far as you once could or bend your knees as deeply. Much of this is caused by the degeneration of cartilage. Slow stretching exercises can help and if possible, work with a physiotherapist to help improve your range of motion.
- Your posture is important. Remember how your mother used to tell you not to slouch? Sitting and standing properly puts less physical stress on your joints.
- Don’t push yourself. You know your limitations and you know when you feel tired. You may also have that friend that pushes you to do more. Ease yourself slowly into moving more. Take breaks and rest afterward if your body is telling you to.
- Boost your consumption of calcium and vitamin D. Pairing those foods together that contain these vitamins is the best way for them to work well.
- Vitamin K helps your body to absorb calcium and vitamin D. Spinach, kale and broccoli are all good sources.
- Cut down on alcohol, coffee and cigarettes. All three will prevent your body from absorbing calcium and using vitamin D properly.
Diet and physical activity affect our bodies more as we age. We have to be more careful about the foods we choose and less careless in the ways we move our bodies. To read more about improving the health of your bones, click here. Information on Bone and Joint health week is available at this link.