By DR. CHAD HOSEMANN
How to take your bone and joint health to heart
As we age, most of us don’t typically think about the relationship between bone and joint health and heart health. However, the two depend on each other. Regular exercise is essential to keeping your heart healthy. It’s equally important to keep your bones and joints healthy so you can remain physically active.
A decline in bone and joint health can lead to pain, discomfort and the inability to enjoy the simplest things in life. This also can be detrimental to heart health, as the heart is one big muscle that pumps blood throughout our body and, like all muscles, relies on activity to stay strong.
There are many things you can do now, regardless of your age, to prevent a decline in bone and joint health — and allow you to continue living a fulfilling and active lifestyle for years to come:
Move. Easier said than done, right? Statistics tell us that over 30 percent of Mississippians are sedentary or completely inactive, meaning they participate in little to no physical activity. Exercise can and should be performed at any age! It’s important to find an activity you enjoy and can stick with over time. A simple walk around the block each day, or a few minutes on a recumbent bike while you read the paper, can make a huge difference in both heart and bone and muscle health. Moving your body is essential for maintaining healthy joints and retaining muscle strength. Also, all exercise, but especially those that are weight-bearing, has been shown to decrease the loss of bone density and help avoid developing osteoporosis. As the great football coach Lou Holtz once said, “In this world you’re either growing or you’re dying, so get in motion and grow.”
Watch your diet. Obesity takes a terrible toll on Mississippians and can lead to multiple heart and bone and joint issues. Watching what you eat and keeping a close eye on your weight can lead to a dramatically lower risk of both heart disease and osteoarthritis of the hips and knees. So get on that scale and hold yourself accountable. As we age, weight loss is much less about exercise and much more about diet! Also, taking a calcium and vitamin D supplement daily helps to maintain bone strength and can lead to lower risk of hip and wrist fractures in the event of a fall.
Wear proper footwear. Wearing shoes that fit poorly can put a lot of strain on your feet and ankles. Over time, improper footwear can cause problems that may affect your hips, knees and back. It’s important to wear walking shoes that provide cushion for your joints and are stable and comfortable to walk in.
Listen to your body. Don’t overextend yourself. Be careful and think before you do a physical activity that you aren’t accustomed to. For example, if you’re worried that lifting a heavy object might be too hard on your back or knees, enlist help to avoid an injury. It is important to choose exercises that are age appropriate and don’t cause undue stress or repetitive damage to your aging joints. As you age, it is important to listen to your body and avoid activities that may cause pain, so you can continue living an active, healthy lifestyle.
See a specialist if your problem persists. Just like when the check-engine light comes on in your car, if you are experiencing any type of nagging pain in your bones or joints, don’t ignore it. It could be a sign of a major problem that, if diagnosed early, can lead to a simple resolution. And don’t hesitate to reach out to an orthopedic doctor for assistance. A referral is not necessary. An orthopedic specialist can make a diagnosis and get you on the road to recovery often in just one quick visit. There is a misconception that visiting an orthopedic surgeon will lead to surgery, but this is simply not the case! The vast majority of our patients at Capital Ortho are treated with conservative, non-surgical options. Let us get you back to doing the activities you love!
Proper bone and joint health is an integral part of maintaining an active and fulfilling lifestyle, and has a lasting positive effect on heart health. Stay active, exercise, eat healthy and listen to your body. Make a commitment in 2021 to take your bone and joint health to heart!
Capital Ortho is a full-service comprehensive orthopedic clinic, surgery center and physical therapy center with two physical locations in Flowood and Madison, and satellite locations in Kosciusko, Hazlehurst, Magee and Forest. All nine of our orthopedic specialists are fellowship-trained and board certified, meaning they have received the highest level of training in their chosen area of expertise. To learn more or schedule an appointment, call 601-987-8200 or visit capitalortho.com.