Fortifying your bones

Daniel Aschenbrener, DO, is a board certified orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist with Banner Medical Group on staff at Banner Baywood, Banner Desert and Banner Gateway medical centers. His office can be reached at (480) 543-6700.

Question: Are there things I can do now to fortify my bones and joints to prevent future pain?

Answer: When it comes to protecting your bones and joints to prevent pain, what you do and how you care for your body now matters. As with many health conditions, diet and exercise top the list of strategies to prevent diseases and conditions affecting the bones, joints, ligaments and tendons.

Osteoporosis, a condition characterized by low bone mass and thinning of the bone structure, is one of the most common causes of bone and joint pain. Women face the biggest risk of osteoporosis, but that doesn’t mean men are immune to bone loss. Regardless of age and gender, just about everyone can benefit from a nutrient-rich diet packed with calcium, vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids along with a good exercise routine.

Making exercise a daily activity will undoubtedly enable you to reap the greatest health rewards, including increased bone density and strength. Since building muscle mass has proven to stimulate bone growth, weight bearing exercises go a long way toward preventing osteoporosis and the pain and discomfort associated with the condition. Low-impact activities like walking, swimming and yoga also help strengthen bones and joints, which means less pain down the road.

It’s never too late to begin exercising, but be sure to change up your workouts to avoid overtaxing certain muscles and joints. A total body workout targeting different muscle groups nets a healthier body overall. Consult a physician before beginning a new workout regimen to ensure your planned activities align with your individual health needs and circumstances.

Eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise address two of the main risk factors for osteoporosis: obesity and inactivity. However, it is equally important to reduce other risk factors like smoking, alcohol consumption and stress in order to ward off pain.

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website, and the Banner Health website are great resources for more information about osteoporosis, joint pain and things you can do to keep your bones and joints healthy and strong.

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