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Keep Your Bones And Joints Healthy With These Expert Tips This Winter

Here are several things that a person can do to keep their bones and joints healthy throughout the winter season.

Keep Your Bones And Joints Healthy With These Expert Tips This Winter

Regular exercise is essential for bone health

As the winter months descend, the cold weather can take a toll on the entire body, including bones and joints. The colder temperatures can cause muscles to tighten, joints to stiffen, and even increase the risk of falls. But there are several things that a person can do to keep their bones and joints healthy and happy throughout the winter season.

Stay active:

•    Regular exercise is essential for bone health, aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week.
•    Weight-bearing exercises are particularly beneficial, these include activities like walking, running, jogging, dancing, and stair climbing.
•    A person should think about swimming or water aerobics if they have trouble with weight-bearing workouts. These exercises are effective exercises that are easy on the joints.
•    Don't let the cold weather deter you. Bundle up and head outdoors for a brisk walk or jog, can also find indoor activities like yoga, Pilates, or dancing.
•    Start gradually and slowly increase the intensity and duration of the workouts.

Focus on nutrition:

•    Ensure to get enough calcium and vitamin D as these nutrients are essential for bone health.
•    Good sources of calcium include dairy products, leafy green vegetables, canned sardines and salmon with bones, and calcium-fortified foods.
•    Vitamin D is naturally obtained through sunlight exposure, however, during the winter months, a person may need to take a vitamin D supplement.
•    Other essential nutrients for bone health include magnesium, vitamin K, and omega-3 fatty acids which can be found in a variety of fruits, vegetables, and nuts.
•    Maintain a healthy weight, being overweight or obese can put additional stress on bones and joints.

Stay warm:

•    Cold temperatures can cause muscles to tighten and joints to stiffen, so dress in warm layers to help the body stay warm.
•    Consider using a hot water bottle or heating pad on sore joints.
•    To help your muscles relax, take a warm bath or shower.
•    Avoid staying outdoors for extended periods in cold weather.

Listen to the body:

•    Pay attention to any pain or stiffness experienced in the bones or joints. 
•    Don't push yourself too hard during exercise, in case a person experiences any pain, they need to stop and rest.
•    Take steps to prevent falls, this includes wearing appropriate footwear, clearing walkways of snow and ice, and using handrails when going up and down stairs.

Be proactive:

•    Talk to the doctor about bone health and this is especially important if a person have a family history of osteoporosis or other bone conditions.
•    Get a bone density test to assess the risk of osteoporosis, this test is recommended for women over the age of 65 and men over the age of 70.
•    Consider taking a vitamin D supplement, especially if a person doesn't get enough sunlight exposure.
•    Maintain good posture as this can help to reduce stress on the bones and joints.

By following these tips, a person can help to keep their bones and joints healthy and strong throughout the winter months. One must remember that it's never too late to start taking care of the bones and joints. So, bundle up, get moving, and enjoy the winter season!

(Dr. Ashwani Maichand, Director - Dept of Orthopaedics at the CK Birla Hospital, Delhi)

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