No one can escape injury, no matter how hard we try. Outside of a few sprained ankles in my life, I always believed I was pretty blessed. No broken bones, no hospital stays, not much more than the common cold, really.
Perhaps, I didn’t knock on enough wood, because this was my year for injuries. I feel like they should dedicate a special chair for me in the emergency room, you know the kind with your name written across the back. “Klutz!”
A broken elbow, a sprained ankle, one torn ligament and finally the pièce de résistance – a broken foot. My point? Breaking stuff hurts. It’s inconvenient. And you’re never prepared. What my injuries brought to light for me was how important it is to consider healthy bones and strong muscles. As I was hopping around with and without crutches, this spring, I realized how extremely difficult (if not almost impossible) this would be 25 years from now. Especially, if I were living alone.
If breaking a bone when you’re still relatively young and healthy doesn’t make you think twice about bone strength and staying as far away from casting plaster, orthopedic surgeons and crutches, I don’t know what will.
Now granted, not all things dense are desirable, but bones ain’t one of ‘em. Not that long ago, the only way you might discover you had weak bones, or even worse osteoporosis, was if you broke one. By then, the health of your bones might already be severely compromised. But now, with a bone density test, known as a densitometry, we can be made aware early in the game if the mineral composition of our bones is not up to snuff.
What can we do to prevent the onset of osteoporosis and weakened bones? Well, first off, if you need to lose weight, don’t diet. Dieting affects hormones that can affect the absorption of calcium. A Rutgers University study found that just six months of dieting decreased bone density by 3 percent. Researchers say losing weight can also cause a change in three hormones (parathyroid, estrogen and cortisol) that affect the absorption and utilization of calcium.
What you CAN do, is make sure to include weight bearing, impact and muscle strengthening exercises to protect your bones. Eat a healthy diet rich in calcium and get a bone density test when your doctor recommends it. It’s a breeze!
For more information check out The National Osteoporosis Foundation.