The importance of caring for bones and joints
The adult human body has 206 bones and 230 joints that work in harmony to allow movement. Although you may seldom think about this amazing framework inside our bodies, it is wise to care for bones and joints to allow for lifelong mobility. The United States Bone and Joint Initiative has designated Oct. 12 through 20 as a time to become aware of the importance of caring for bones and joints.
Here are six ways to care for bones and joints.
Keep an eye on the scale
Your bones and joints have to do a lot of work. Simply walking across a level ground exerts a force on the knees. The Arthritis Foundation notes that every pound of excess weight puts four pounds of extra pressure on your joints. Maintaining a healthy weight can reduce the strain on knees, ankles, hips and other bones and joints.
When you keep your body in proper alignment, your bones and joints are able to work efficiently. Good standing posture balances your weight over your feet and put less strain on your spine and other parts of the body. Being aware of correct posture when sitting, standing, lifting or walking can help reduce wear and tear on bones and joints. There are other health benefits to good posture, including increased lung capacity, better circulation and reduced back pain.
Be calcium conscious and eat a healthy diet
During natural aging, bones begin to thin and become more fragile. One way to combat this progression is to get enough calcium. Calcium and vitamin D work together to protect your bones. The most common sources of these two vitamins are dairy products like milk and cheese, dark leafy greens, broccoli and salmon. Spending time in the sun and eating mushrooms, fatty fish, egg yolks and vitamin D fortified foods can also provide the body with vitamin D.
A diet focused on vegetables, fruits, lean proteins and whole grains is beneficial for your overall health as well as your bones and joints.
In order for joints to perform properly, the muscles supporting them must be healthy and strong. If these muscles aren’t doing their job, there is excess strain placed on the joint. The best type of exercise for keeping the joints healthy is strength training where the weight or resistance is gradually increased. Check with a physical therapist for exercises to build strength.
You don’t have to join a gym to be active, but you do need to spend time each day moving. Spending eight hours at a desk is considered working, but it is not considered exercise. Incorporate weight bearing exercises into your day. Examples of weight bearing exercises are walking, stair climbing and hiking. These activities can help strengthen bones and keep joints mobile.
Get a bone density test
Keep track of your bone health by having a bone density test as you age. Don’t wait until you have broken a bone to discover whether you should be paying extra attention to your bone health. This simple test uses X-rays to determine your risk of breaking a bone as well as to diagnose and monitor osteoporosis.
When joints become painful
Joint replacement is often the remedy for joints that have become too painful. For these operations to be successful, a focused period of rehabilitation needs to take place. To be sure of getting the best care possible following joint replacement surgery, many choose to recover in a short-term care facility such as Glenview Terrace where there are experienced staff members ready to address wound care, pain management and physical therapy.
When it is time for expert care, consider Glenview Terrace, where the focus is always to help get you back to the independent lifestyle you desire. Focusing on healthcare excellence and safety, Glenview Terrace provides the latest infection-control precautions, including routine COVID-19 testing and monitoring. Glenview Terrace is also ranked #11 in Newsweek magazine’s 2021 list of best post-hospital rehabilitation and nursing care centers in Illinois—and has earned the Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval certification for post-hospital and post-surgical care. For additional information or to arrange a personalized virtual tour, visit glenviewterrace.com or call 847-729-9090.
— J. Buchenot for Glenview TerraceBack