The week of October 12-19 is Bone and Joint Health National Action Week. We at the Fitness Center think that every week should be bone and joint health action week, but we are still glad that it is important enough of a health concern to make it a National Action item.
There are a few things that come to mind when we think of bone and joint health, such as arthritis, back pain and osteoporosis. There are also a handful of ways that you can educate yourself on injury prevention.
First, here are some fast facts:
- More than half the American population over the age of 18 - 54 percent - are affected by musculoskeletal (bone and joint) conditions, according to The Burden of Musculoskeletal Conditions in the United States.
- Bone and joint conditions are the most common cause of severe long-term pain and physical disability worldwide affecting hundreds of millions of people (Woolf AD, Pfleger B. Burden of major musculoskeletal conditions. Bulletin of the World Health Organization 2003;81:646-656.)
- Research funding is currently less than two percent of the National Institutes of Health annual budget, and continues to decline each year despite the high costs associated with injuries, arthritis and back pain. (usbji.org)
These facts may appear scary at first glance, but there are some very easy ways to increase your odds of preventing pains. Remember when your mom used to tell you to stand up straight when you were a kid? Unfortunately, she was right.
Proper posture plays a big role in preventative care for your bones. Many people have a slight curve which can even cause loss of height. The two curves are called kyphosis and lordosis. If you take the action to improve your posture, stretch, stay physically active and build your muscles, you can fix these curves. An exercise as simple as pelvic tilts on a stability ball can strengthen the muscles involved in lordosis.
Another easy exercise you can do anywhere is called dead bug. For this exercise you lay on your back, with your arms and legs pointing straight up away from the body. Breathe deeply and alternate lowering your left arm and right leg slowly to the floor and back to the starting position. Do the same thing with the right arm and left leg. As you move, make sure your belly button is squeezed in and your back is flat on the ground.
The next time you are in the Fitness Center, take some time to ask one of our trainers or massage therapists about ways to increase your bone and joint health. We have a staff of experts on the subject that are happy to walk you through the ways you can strengthen your bones and joints.
I challenge you to use the National Action week to research your own health and implement a strategy to keep your bones and joints happy.
Images courtesy self.com.