It’s that time of year again where everyone is thinking about their New Year’s resolutions. While many people may be focused on generic goals like weight loss and getting in shape, joint and bone health should also be a priority. Creating resolutions to help your bone and joint health means making investments in your health that will benefit you well beyond a single calendar year.
Join an Exercise Class
Strong bones are built through high-impact weight-bearing activities such as dancing, hiking, jogging, jumping rope, and tennis. These activities maintain and increase bone mass density, making your bones less frail. Finding an exercise class that offers one or a mixture of these exercises is a great way to strengthen your bones and prevent conditions like osteoporosis.
Classes that involve a lot of bending and stretching, like yoga, are great for targeting various muscle groups, and strengthening your muscles is a direct way to improve joint health. Most gyms offer fitness classes, however, many websites offer exercise programs dedicated to helping you reach your fitness goals in the comfort of your own home.
Rather than eating better this year, eat smarter. Filling your diet with food that contains high levels of calcium and vitamin D is a great way to strengthen your bones. Calcium forms the building blocks of strong bones, and vitamin D helps bones absorb that calcium and phosphorous. Dairy products are high in calcium, but dark green vegetables such as kale, broccoli, and bok choy also contain large amounts of the beneficial nutrient.
The best way to boost your vitamin D intake is to spend time outside, in the sun. Spending 10-15 minutes in the sun 3 times a week is all our bodies need to manufacture appropriate levels of vitamin D.
Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Getting enough sleep each night provides your bones time to regenerate and repair any damage caused by daily wear and tear. Setting resolutions for sleep looks different for every individual and their specific daily schedule, however, there are a few methods you can try to ensure you have a good night’s sleep. Limiting electronics before bed, practicing some form of meditation, going to bed earlier, and increasing melatonin levels through specific supplements are great ways to improve your evening routine and sleep.
Setting goals to improve your joint and bone health is an investment in your current and future self. Setting these goals and making them common practices in your life will not only prevent common conditions that accompany aging but will strengthen your brain and overall physical well-being as well. For more information on bone and joint health, visit Dr. Hicken’s website or give him a call for a consultation!