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Monday, January 4, 2016

4 Bone Health Resolutions for 2016

Often we resolve to get in better shape or exercise more in the New Year. We want to lose 5 pounds or flatter abs or less underarm jiggle.

For this year, why not direct some of that energy to your bones? If you don't have strong, healthy bones, you can't work out safely or even perform simple everyday physical tasks, without putting yourself at risk for breaks or fractures.

Here are four easy ways to better bone health in 2016: 

  1. Get warmed up, and get moving.
    Just thirty minutes a day of physical activity can do wonders for your body. Exercise keeps joints and muscles flexible, maintains bone and cartilage health, and reduces general pain and stiffness. Warming up beforehand gets blood flowing and prepares your body for more intense activity to follow. 
  2. Pump some iron.
    Weight-bearing workouts are essential to maintaining strong bones. In addition to weight-training with machines or free weights, other beneficial activities include jogging, hiking, heavy gardening, baseball, basketball, dancing, aerobics, racquet sports, and bowling. 
  3. Pop a (Calcium) pill.
    Check with your doctor first, but consider taking a Vitamin D or calcium supplement if your diet is lacking either. Adults need approximately 1,000 IU per day of Vitamin D from foods or sunlight. Calcium recommendations vary, but generally adults need 1,000 to 1,200 mg daily. 
  4. Lighten your load.
    Be mindful of how you carry common items like backpacks, purses, computer bags, messenger bags, etc. Carrying these without proper support or weight distribution can lead to neck, back and shoulder injuries over time. Bend at the knees to lift things, and use double straps if possible to minimize stress on any one part of the body.
Also remember to get screened regularly for arthritis and osteoporosis if you are of a certain age, have other certain risk factors, or a family history of either disease.

(Courtesy of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons).

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