On the occasion of Bone And Joint Health Day, which is celebrated on August 4, physiotherapist Dr Lipi Verma givestips on how to take care of your bones and joints

Generally our bone density decreases by 1% per month and only increases by 1% per year, making the decrease in bone density almost impossible to avoid. Inevitable as bone degradation may be, however, early intervention through exercising, medications and balanced diet can successfully slow down the rate of degeneration considerably.The best age to start is before the age of 30, when the rate of bone remodelling is at its peak.

For maintaining bone health, one can implement the following measures:

Improve cardiovascular rate: If you've stuck to your chair too long and never exercised, get moving now! Walk for at least 30 minutes on a daily basis, and stretch it to 60 minutes within a week. Continue it for 2-3 weeks before gradually moving on to resistive walking. Walk on an inclined plain, or walk with weights tied to the ankle for best results.

Strength improvement: Start with strength building exercises such as squats, jumps and push ups from day one.Five to ten daily repetitions of mini squats, mini jumps and wall push-ups can be used to start with, gradually increased to twenty repetitions and three sets depending upon the comfort level. Weight bearing exercises should also be included in the routine, as bones tend to grow in strength and density when stress is applied to them.

Balance improvement: Improving balance and posture decreases fall related issues and the risk of compromising bone health. Core build-up exercises lead to stronger, well balanced musculature, whereas different balance improvement techniques such as one leg standing, standing with one foot in front of another, standing with feet close together also help to correct postural anomalies and improve balance.

Diet: Nutritious, healthy diet is a must for maintaining bone density. Food must include an appropriate amount of calcium and vitamin D which are essential for bone rebuilding. Dairy products such as milk, cheese, curd and fish products are found to be most beneficial.

Lifestyle changes: Stop smoking and decrease alcohol intake to decrease the risk occurrence probability.

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