A well-built home has a strong foundation, constructed to weather the elements and the passage of time. Much like the beams and planks that make up a solid structure, healthy bones support the human body. Bones not only provide a framework for our bodies, but also play a vital role in the protection of internal organs, movement, and storage of important minerals. When the integrity of a building is compromised by termites and water damage, the same holds true for osteoporosis in the human skeletal system. It can impair our way of life. A home requires ongoing maintenance to keep it in tip-top shape, and so does the human body.
To highlight the importance of building strong bones, May has been named National Osteoporosis Awareness Month, an initiative sponsored by the National Osteoporosis Foundation. The organization reports that 54 million Americans have osteoporosis, which puts them at a higher risk for fractures and falls. They also state that the disease is responsible for two million broken bones per year (http://bit.ly/1vJodM1). Though genetics do play a part in the susceptibility of osteoporosis, certain lifestyle choices can reverse the onset of bone loss.
- Add the right fuel to your furnace. Filling your plate with dark leafy greens rich in calcium and vitamin K provides essential minerals to help increase bone density. Say yes to a second helping of kale and collard greens during your next meal. Other foods high in calcium include broccoli, edamame, nuts, certain fruits like oranges, and beans. In addition to these non-dairy options, milk, yogurt, and cheese contain high levels of calcium.
- Maintenance is key. Staying active can effectively increase bone density. Weight-bearing exercises make your bones and muscles work against gravity, so hop on the stair climber at the gym, take a walk around the block, or grab your tennis racquet and spend a couple hours on the court. Resistance training can also help individuals maintain balance and reduce the risk of falls. Free-weights and resistance bands are great options.
- Call in the professionals. When you’ve been diagnosed with osteoporosis or are considered high-risk due to genetics, consult expert advice from your doctor and a physical therapist. Would you try to fix your roof if it was caving in, or tackle a massive plumbing problem yourself? Probably not. You’d at least want a second opinion. The skilled therapists at South County Physical Therapy, Inc. (SCPT) can establish a tailored treatment plan to help improve your balance, posture, strength, and flexibility, ultimately reducing your risk of potential falls and fractures.
For additional information on SCPT’s osteoporosis program, call us at 508-832-2628 or visit us online at http://www.southcountypt.com/.