The new year is here and if you didn’t make any healthy New Year’s resolutions, there’s still time! Here at Nebraska Spine Hospital, we are all about promoting a healthy lifestyle, as it is often the best way to prevent or alleviate back pain. So, in the spirit of healthy living, we recommend the following New Year’s resolutions to everyone, but especially women.
If you’re wondering why we’re singling out women, it’s because women have a higher risk of developing osteoporosis and the following healthy New Year’s resolutions can help to prevent bone loss.
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Be Mindful of What You’re Eating
Losing weight is a very popular New Year’s resolution, and for good reason – on average, an obese person in the US spends $1,429 more annually on medical bills. Being overweight or obese can also increase your risk of developing back pain, joint pain, and muscle strains.
While a lot of resolutioners approach weight loss by completely cutting out “bad” foods and eating more “good” foods, we recommend a different approach. Completely cutting out “bad” foods, whether it’s candy, desserts, chips, or carbs, can lead to binges and falling off the weight loss wagon.
Instead, we recommend focusing more on what you would like to eat more of. Focus on your own personal nutrient goals, like eating a certain amount of fiber, protein, calcium, or whole grains. And if you want to eat a handful of candy every once in a while, go for it. Practicing moderation instead of deprivation can lead to a healthy diet you can sustain long term, rather than one you can only stand for a few months at a time.
Dietary needs vary by person, so it may be a good idea to consult a nutritionist when you first begin watching what you eat.
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Set Realistic Fitness Goals
Exercise is another popular New Year’s resolution. Regular exercise is essential to your overall health as well as maintaining bone mass. Exercise, specifically weight-bearing exercise, reduces bone density loss, which helps to prevent osteoporosis. In addition to reducing bone density loss, exercise also improves the exchange of nutrients into your spine’s soft tissues and strengthens your muscles, making you less susceptible to back pain and spinal injuries.
If you’ve resolved to improve your physical fitness this year, we recommend easing into a new routine slowly. Often, resolutioners jump into a new routine without easing their body into being more active, which can result in injury or burnout.
Please consult with your physician before beginning a new exercise program.
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Be Bone Healthy
Calcium is a key nutrient to many of your body’s functions, including maintaining a healthy spine. It supports your bone mass, heart, blood, muscles, and nerves. It’s estimated that approximately 70% of people aren’t getting enough calcium in their diet. When your body doesn’t get enough calcium, it leaches calcium from your bones, making them more susceptible to fractures. If you consistently don’t get enough calcium throughout your life, you’re much more likely to develop osteoporosis.
The amount of calcium you consume is important and so is the amount of vitamin D, which helps your body absorb calcium. Below is the recommended daily intake of calcium and vitamin D.
- Adults 25-50 years old: 1,000 milligrams per day with 400 i.u. of vitamin D
- Adults 50+ years old: 1,500 milligrams per day with 400-800 i.u. of vitamin D
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Stay Up-to-Date on Health Exams
Staying up-to-date on regular health exams can help you live a longer, healthier life. Seeing your doctor regularly can help to detect health issues before they can worsen into serious problems. Plus, many insurance plans cover preventative health care, meaning it may not cost you to see your doctor for these visits.
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