With the start of a new decade, many of us are more determined than ever to stick to our resolutions. And when it comes to our health, there is no doubt that many of us are coming up with loads of new year’s resolutions. For anyone who is grappling with bone and joint health, here are some easy-to-incorporate resolutions that will help make your decade the best yet for your body.
1. I will make movement a part of my daily life
As the old saying goes, “use it or lose it.” And that definitely applies to your joint health. Exercise involving weight-bearing is essential to maintaining healthy bone density1. It also helps to engage your joints by keeping the tendons and ligaments healthy in order to better support your joints. This doesn’t mean that you suddenly need to become a protein-shake-guzzling meat head at the gym that benches a hundred pounds – it simply means you should strive to move more. That can be achieved through simply taking up things you like and enjoy such as walking, dancing, playing tennis, doing yoga, or riding a bike. Keep in mind that consistency outweighs duration. So if a ten minute walk through the park is all you can manage, strive to do that every day. If you don’t feel like going out, you can always strive to do squats and lunges by your desk at work or at home in order to strengthen joint tissue and improve your range of motion. Plus, don’t underestimate the power of the everyday things such as gardening, taking the stairs rather than the elevator, walking to and from the grocery store while carrying your bags, parking at the very back of a shopping mall parking lot instead of near the entrance, etc. All these small, everyday changes are great ways to incorporate more weight-bearing movement into your life, while still managing to get stuff done. It is also helpful to wear a fitness tracker or keep an exercise diary to log your daily activities, in order to keep you motivated. If you can reach small goals every day, then you are less likely to fizzle out come February and March.
2. I will invest in (and wear) the proper gear during activities
Sports safety and supportive gear all serve a very important purpose: keeping you from getting injured. While a lot of injuries from not wearing the proper gear can, and usually will, heal, acute or chronic joint injuries earlier in life do open you up to the increased risk of developing arthritis later in life. So even if you’re young now, wearing the proper gear will hopefully help to prevent you from getting arthritis later on when you’re not so young. And just because you may have been playing fast and loose with your sports gear now, doesn’t mean that it’s too late to turn around bad habits. If you’re thinking of taking up a new sports activity in the new year, make sure you do your research as to which proper gear you’ll need and seek professional advice as to the proper way to wear/use what you’ve bought.
3. I will ask for help when I need it
We don’t always like to reach out for help because we think that we can manage it all on our own, or we think we’ll look weak. But the truth of the matter is, a lot of joint injuries happen when people attempt to lift, climb, or carry more than they can handle – and all those injuries can be avoided by simply getting help with heavy or risky tasks. This year, make it a resolution to know your limits and ask for help, rather than try to push past them alone.
4. I will see a doctor about my nagging aches and pains
Many of us make the mistake of trying to ignore those aches and pains2. We brush them off as nothing major that an over-the-counter pain pill can’t cure. But if you’re experiencing knee, hip, or shoulder pain, instead of pushing it out of your mind, go talk to a doctor. A qualified orthopedic specialist can help you pinpoint the source of the issue and figure out what is causing it in order to help you find solutions to fix it. There is no need to suffer in silence. It’s ok to go to a medical professional and ask for help with your aches and pains.
5. I will eat foods naturally rich in Calcium & Vitamin D
Calcium and Vitamin D are the building blocks of strong bones and bone health. Calcium is what makes your bones strong, while Vitamin D is needed in order for your body to absorb calcium and put it to good use. The best way to get both is to know which foods to add to your diet. Salmon, sardines, and other small bone-in fish, along with almonds, broccoli, and dark leafy greens are fantastic sources of calcium. While sunlight is the best source of Vitamin D3, it can be a little challenging to soak up some rays in the dead of winter. Thankfully, many of the same foods that are high in calcium are also packed full of Vitamin D, such as wild-caught fish, fortified dairy, soy, and nuts. You can also get it from sources such as eggs, liver, and shitake mushrooms.
To make sure you are getting enough Calcium and Vitamin D, we recommend taking NATURELO Bone Strength supplement daily.
3.Optimal vitamin D status for the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis., 2007;24(12):1017-29