Married with children, single, seniors, and everyone in between struggle to fit exercise into their morning routine. “Busy” is a well-worn word among Americans.

Time constraints are not alone in the challenges to stay healthy as we age. Maintaining the ability to be mobile is critical to remaining vital as we age. This means avoiding injury and preserving bone and joint health.

Aging itself conspires to chip away at your bone and joint health. “Bone and joint health are intrinsically linked to healthy aging,” explains Dr. Bright McConnell of Charleston Sports Medicine. “We are excited to bring orthobiologics, stem cell therapies, bioidentical hormone replacement, and countless other advanced treatments for patients with bone and joint injuries to the forefront. But the key to avoiding injury altogether or recovering from injury lies in the development of bone and joint strength.

Strong, healthy bones and joints translate to strong healthy men and women – regardless of age.”

Here are some recommendations on how to achieve bone and joint health.

1. Start Early

Bone and joint health begin in childhood. Today, approximately 32% of American children and adolescents, ages 2 to 19, are considered overweight or obese.

Excess weight can cause vitamin deficiencies, hormonal imbalances, and increased stress and tension that can affect bone growth and overall musculoskeletal health, causing deformity, pain, and potentially, a lifetime of limited mobility and diminished life quality.

Physical activity is important for loading the bones and helping them strengthen. A healthy diet, along with regular physical activity in childhood—at least 35 to 60 minutes a day—can help ensure a healthy weight and strong bones for life.

The adolescent growth spurt brings a marked rise in fractures. If fractures occur with mild injuries, that can be a sign children have skeletal defects tied to low bone mass. This carries over into adulthood.

2. Drink Well: Calcium, Caffeine, and Alcohol

A diet inclusive of calcium is critical. Limit caffeinated beverages – soda and coffee – particularly if your calcium intake is low. Drink water instead. Alcohol consumption can affect bone health. Drink in moderation.

If you aren’t drinking the recommended calcium intake for your age group, add calcium-rich foods to your diet, or use a calcium supplement.

3. Exercise: Find The Time & Mix It Up

The dramatic increase in the number of children, adolescents, and adults diagnosed as overweight or obese in the United States has reached epidemic status. Calcium, vitamin D, diet, and exercise are the cornerstones of bone health. Staying at a healthy weight reduces the negative impact on bones and joints.

Moderation and variety of exercise reduce the possibility of wear and tear related to repeating the same motion. So mix it up. Run one day and do weight-bearing activities the next.

Make the time. Staying active isn’t always easy to fit into today’s busy schedule. Try to schedule your exercise time and spend more time on your feet. Take the stairs, stand up while working, walk while on the phone. We agree with Nike. Just do it.

4. Don’t Smoke. Just Don’t Do It.

Smoking reduces bone mass. Several research studies have identified smoking as a risk factor for osteoporosis and bone fracture. So don’t smoke. Period.

5. Boost Your Vitamin D.

Vitamin D plays an important role in protecting your bones and your body requires it to absorb calcium. Children need vitamin D to build strong bones, and adults need it to keep their bones strong and healthy. If you don’t get enough vitamin D, you may lose bone, have lower bone density, and you’re more likely to break bones as you age.

Schedule an appointment for a blood panel to test your Vitamin D. Take a high potency supplement and/or a nice walk in the sun if you test low. Enjoy the added benefit of a mood boost. Now everybody’s happy.

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