10 Resolutions for Bone and Joint Health in 2019


Ever worry about falling when you get older? It happens. A lot. Every year an estimated, 3 million seniors are treated in emergency rooms for fall-related injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Take a fall, and you're more likely to break a bone, develop a fracture, or hit your head. And you don't want that to happen. So what can you do to prevent bone and joint injuries as you get older? Here are some tips on how to keep your joints healthy and strong.

1. Cut this way, not that way.

Prepping food in the kitchen? Always use sharp knives, and cut away from yourself to prevent cuts or other injuries.

2. Warm up before exercise.

If you're going to the gym or working in the yard, warm up before you're active. Try gentle stretching and movement like yoga or tai chi. A little warm-up increases muscle temperature and elasticity to help prevent injury and improve your workout.

3. Check vitamin D levels.

Get tested. Chances are pretty good you're vitamin D deficient. Talk to your doctor about supplements to boost your vitamin D levels, absorb more calcium, and strengthen your bones.

4. Build strong bones.

You don't want to be one of the 3 million seniors who end up in the emergency room for a broken bone or fall injury. Strengthen your bones with weight-bearing activities like bodyweight exercises, brisk walking, yard work, dancing, or your favorite sport.

5. Skip the ladder, and ask for help.

If you don't have to climb up on a ladder, don't. It's that simple. Your risk for falling rises as you age. Use a stepstool. Or if you must use a ladder, make sure it's safe and secure first, and only use it if you're wearing shoes with a non-slip sole.

6. Lighten your load.

Just because you can carry all your groceries in at once, doesn't mean you should. Lighten your load. Make an extra trip. If you lift or move heavy things, use proper lifting techniques. And if you're not sure, ask for help.

7. Stay active.

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends seniors get 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day, or 150 minutes per week. Can you do that? Regular exercise helps strengthen your heart, lungs, muscles, and bones. Being active can also help you manage joint pain and arthritis.

8. Create a safe environment.

Now is always a good time to make your environment safer. Clean up clutter. Eliminate tripping hazards. Install or secure hand railings. Make it easier and safer to use the bathroom, bathtub and shower, with non-slip mats and an easier way to get in and out of the bath or use the toilet.

9. Drive safe.

If you're still driving, make paying attention to the road and other drivers your number one priority. Avoid distracted driving. If you really need to use your mobile phone, pull over and take care if it.

10. Be a good patient.

Get regular check-ups. Follow your doctor's advice. Take your medication. And get to know your own health conditions to ask questions and have input on how you manage your care.

These 10 healthy lifestyle habits and choices will help you protect your bones and joints. If you want to feel good, be healthier, and live longer, make it a habit to eat healthy foods like the meals you'll find on the Senior-Friendly menu.