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Active Retirees : Active Retirees Feb-March 2012
Active RetireesTM | 37 R The more mobile you are, the less effort it takes to move. balance, or swimming and aqua aerobics, which are gentle on joints, and help build cardiovascular fitness and strength. You are what you eat Diet is also important to bone and joint health. “Stay hydrated,” Dr Stone advises. “Drink preventively – before you get thirsty – and stick to water.” A diet high in acidifying foods may lower the body tissue pH levels, which may result in minerals leaching from the bones. Naturopath and vice president of the Australian Naturopathic Practitioners’ Association Eta Brand says a diet rich in alkalising foods can help maintain bone and joint health. “You need to eat lots of different coloured vegetables, nuts and seeds, fruit, and some protein from meat, fish or meat alternatives,” says Brand. She also says to avoid salt, sugar, caffeine and alcohol as they are among the most acidic foods and can leach bone calcium. Supplements may also be helpful, but it’s best to see a medical professional before starting to top-up vitamins and minerals unnecessarily. “The ones that are helpful for joint and bone health are glucosamine, fish oil, magnesium, boron, vitamin K and vitamin D,” Brand says. “But start by eating the right foods and exercising, and then only look into supplements if absolutely necessary.” When to see the doctor The ABS musculoskeletal study found that only 14 per cent of people with a musculoskeletal condition visit a GP, specialist or other health professional for treatment. If you are experiencing joint pain, an osteopath and physiotherapist could help get your joints functioning again. “You can’t reverse joint deterioration, but the joints and surrounding tissues can be improved and become less painful,” explains Dr Stone. “Just because your joint has degenerated, it doesn’t mean your health is done and dusted. Don’t use it as an excuse to give up.” •• Just because your joint has degenerated, it doesn’t mean your health is done and dusted. 1 Stretch every day, especially if you have been sitting still for long periods of time and after exercising. “We use our muscles and joints every minute of the day, yet we don’t stretch enough to keep them loose and flexible,” says Dr Stone. He suggests spending a few minutes at the end of each day doing static stretches (where you hold one position for about 20 seconds). 2 Watch your weight. Not only is obesity a risk factor for musculoskeletal conditions, but ABS research reveals that 65 per cent of people with a musculoskeletal condition are overweight. 3 Monitor your stress levels. “ When you’re stressed, your body loses many important nutrients which may be lost from your bones and joints,” says Eta Brand. 4Exercise. It is one of the main forms of treatment for musculoskeletal conditions. The ABS study shows more than half of those with the condition introduce an exercise routine into their daily lives. 4 STEpS To bETTEr joinTS Thinkstock
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