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Osteoporosis – What do you know about it?

Osteoporosis is the condition whereby you are more likely to break bones, from falls or bumps, as the bones have weakened. Bones lose strength as the bone cell renewal is outweighed by the cell loss.

To explain that further, bones are living tissue and like all cells repair and renew continually to maintain healthy bone tissue.  Until we are in our 30s the repair and renew is in balance. Then as we get older the balance shifts …..less renewal. There is a point at which this bone mass decline results in osteoporosis. Your Doctor can make an assessment and has diagnostic tools for the condition.

In the UK Osteoporosis affects 3m people. 1 in 3 women have broken a bone due to osteoporosis in her lifetime (wrists, hips, spine most common).  For females besides ageing the “thinning” of bones is also impacted by genes, body weight, smoking, drinking and the menopause.

In the menopause with the oestrogen levels dropping, this leads to greater bone mass reduction making bones less strong. During the first 5 years of the menopause a woman will lose 10% of her bone mass and so increase their risk of developing osteoporosis. Read my experience of the menopause here.

What helps?

 A balanced diet!  Calcium is important for maintaining strong bones.  Sources of calcium are

  • Milk, cheese and yoghurt
  • Calcium-enriched milks such as soya, rice or oats
  • Fish that are eaten with the bones in, like tinned sardines.
  • Leafy green vegetables – cabbage, broccoli, watercress, kale
  • Beans and chick peas
  • Some nuts and seeds

Vitamin D (sunshine) is important for bone health as it helps to absorb calcium (see above).  Our bodies create vitamin D from direct sunlight on our skin. In the spring and summer if you go outside for at least 20 minutes, three times a week, every week  most people will get enough vitamin D from the sun. You can’t get adequate vitamin D from the occasional sunshine holiday!

Foods rich in Vitamin D such as fatty fish, like tuna, mackerel and salmon, cheese, egg yolks, red meat, liver and foods fortified with Vitamin D (some cereals and dairy products) will also help boost the correct levels of Vitamin D.

pillars of good health - food
Eggs – a great food!

 

Stay mobile! Regular exercise is important for all adults. Weight bearing exercise and resistance exercises are great for bone health, improving bone intensity, bone strength and preventing osteoporosis. As we get older it is important to maintain balance and strength,
keep functionally fit!

Weight bearing exercises;

  • Walking
  • Running, dancing, skipping
  • Tennis
  • Golf
  • Yoga
  • Aerobics

And resistance exercises;

  • Press ups, bodyweight moves
  • Weight lifting
  • Gym weights
  • Resistance bands

If you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis you must take advice from your Doctor before undertaking a new exercise regime. I belong to a great online gym which offers these sorts of training, take a look here

Walking boots
My trusted walking boots

 

Also quit smoking and reduce you alcohol intake! For more information and advice check here 

And finally consider Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) – Many studies have shown that HRT can help improve bone density and reduce the risk of fractures. The best resource to read more on this is here.

In conclusion

Diet, sleep, physical activity, relaxation (see my 4 Pillars of Health blog) are all so important for the best health outcomes…………….so let this be your badge of honour  ” BE less busy”.

Further reading

https://www.arthritisresearchuk.org/arthritis-information/conditions/osteoporosis.aspx

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Osteoporosis/Pages/Introduction.aspx

Osteoporosis – what do you know about it?

Thanks for reading.

 

Jen x

www.jenafitlife.com

Twitter @jenafitlife

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My top tips to help you sleep

Sleep Tips

In my post about the 4 pillars of good health  you’ll find that sleep was one of the pillars. In a follow up post I talked more about why sleep is important to good health. I hope you now see why it is important to take sleep seriously! I also promised a post on sleep tips to get a good quality night’s sleep, here it is.

sleep tops
Do you count sheep to get to sleep?

Tip 1. Exercise

It is important to get balance in our lives and taking some exercise is an important part of that. Exercise is important for our heart health, bone strength (Osteoporosis -What do you know about it?) and reducing the risk of things like depression and late onset diabetes.  Exercise stimulates our stress hormone cortisol and stimulates the brain, it stimulates our “fight or flight” defence  (Stress Awareness). Although exercising late in the day may not be conducive to a good night’s sleep, exercise is!  If at all possible take your exercise earlier in the day.

Tip 2. Reduce blue wavelengths!

The screens on our electronic devices emit blue wavelengths which disrupt our circadian rhythms, that is they trick our body clock see this https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/block-blue-light-to-sleep-better for a comprehensive explanation. Try using the Night Shift setting on your phone (Settings >Display&Brightness>Night Shift); set regular on/off or manually enable. Give yourself a curfew on these devices as part of your bedtime routine (see below)

Tip 3. To nap or not to nap……

Avoid napping, if you need a nap to get through your day, again do it early or limit the time you nap. Set an alarm!

Tip 4. Your Bedroom

Check out your bedroom. Block out any disturbing noise and light. Ensure it is not too hot or stuffy. Make it a room for sleeping in, remove the TV and separate activities that cause you excitement, stress or anxiety so that in this place you can relax, chill and sleep!

sleep tips
Bedroom fit for purpose – Sleep

Tip 5. A bedtime routine

Develop a bedtime routine. Start with that curfew away from blue light and bright light.  Take time to slow down  – a bath or reading. Invest time in getting ready for sleep. Going to sleep and waking up at the same time everyday will regulate your body clock and enable a good nights sleep.

Tip 6. Trips to the loo

To avoid trips to the loo in the night limit your fluids in the evening. Seems simple!

Tip 7. Menopausal issues

If hot flushes are an issue for you, along with seeking medical advice and considering HRT  (more info. here Menopause post), it may help to wear bed socks. This can help to lower the core body temperature and aid sleep. For more advice on Sleep and the Menopause click here https://www.webmd.boots.com/menopause/guide/sleep-problems-menopause

Do I follow these sleep tips?

Mostly I guess, here’s my round up
Tip 1. I prefer to exercise in the morning
Tip 2. I try to have a curfew…. and I have changed the setting on my phone.
Tip 3. I don’t nap
Tip 4. No TV or other exciting things in my bedroom. A little light pollution from a street light but I hide under the duvet anyway
Tip 5. I do have a routine which culminates with reading in bed….it works for me, always has done, as a child my Dad often had to remove the book from my face and switch the light off!
Tip 6. No ……I have a peppermint tea or two in the evening and invariably have to get up in the night. However I do go straight back to sleep
Tip 7. I don’t recall any problems but I do like to wear socks in bed in the winter….but then my house is pretty chilly!

Do you have any other sleep tips?

Thanks for reading.

Jen x

www.jenafitlife.com

Twitter @jenafitlife

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Do you plan to have a healthy later life?

I am not a medical expert, this post is my thoughts and beliefs on a happy, healthy later life, and not expert opinion or advice. I have included links to professional bodies which may help you.

“Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending” Carl Bard

How are you approaching old age?

I believe it is important and indeed our responsibility to look after our bodies and stay healthy.  I appreciate that for some genetics may play a part in your health and mobility, you can still affect your health outcomes to some extent. Our mental health will impact our physical health and I appreciate this can be a huge hurdle for some. The MIND website has some great information and support for mental health problems.

It is not too late if you are in midlife or even old age, don’t accept illness or dis-ease, choose a fit, happy and healthy later life. The choice is yours. I believe your mind plays an enormous part here.  It is important to learn to love yourself (read my blog on self esteem), be proud and you’ll find this makes it easier to look after yourself.

Functional Fitness for a healthy later life

Healthy later life – Start today!

However old you are – THINK “It doesn’t matter about yesterday” – whether you ate a pack of doughnuts or sat around all day – everyday is a new day and a time to make a change or do something differently. Take a walk, consider what you are eating, and take 5 minutes to contemplate the day/year or anything really.

Choose a good balance in your diet, lifestyle and activity and your body will reward you with less illness and dis-ease. The NHS Choices website may help.

The Menopause

Women will experience hormonal changes during the menopause which can sometimes have very debilitating effects and a knock on to your overall health and self esteem. I believe it is important to recognise the signs and take expert advice to help reduce any associated risks such as heart disease or osteoporosis  – this post has lots of good ideas for a healthy later life. Take a look at this great website from The Menopause Doctor a GP and Menopause Expert  www.menopausedoctor.co.uk.

 

My Dad is 90 next month

healthy later life
Soon to be 90!

His garden is full of fruit and veg that make their way either to his table, his freezer or a jam or chutney. His freezer also boasts cuts of meat and game; he buys half a lamb from the butcher and is gifted pheasants. The only quick or “ready” food in the freezer  is oven chips and ice cream. He cooks his meals from scratch and bakes cakes or tarts regularly. As well as tending his garden he will try to take a daily walk, weather and knee permitting. He is certainly an inspiration or is that an aspiration!

Food for thought

I hope this post has given you something to think about, perhaps even inspired to choose to start to make a new ending. I hope so.

Checkout my 4 Pillars of Health blog post here https://www.jenafitlife.com/4-pillars-good-health/

and my Functional Fitness blog here https://www.jenafitlife.com/?s=functional+fitness

 

Thanks for reading.

Jen x

www.jenafitlife.com

Twitter @jenafitlife

Instagram @jenafitlife

Sign up to get notified of my new blog posts – pop your email address in the box at the top right of the page. I promise I won’t be sending spam or selling my email list!

My Menopause Experience – How is yours?

I spotted somewhere on social media that September was/is Menopause Month. As a 50-something blogger writing about Health I thought I should write something about the menopause.  But what? I’m not a medical practitioner or have any expertise in the menopause, apart from my personal experience.

I then realised that Menopause Month is an American thing, so thought well perhaps I won’t rush into a menopause blog. Then I thought again……..after some research I realised that the subject is a little taboo and there is little to no education available. We have sex education at school and here, at best, the menopause will be billed as the time our periods stop. And there is so much more to it than that! I decided a blog providing some resources and a brief chat about my experience may help someone out there!

Sex Education

Talking of sex education……… well we didn’t talk about it when I was growing up! Yes we did at school, in Biology and other classes but not at home. My Mum handed me a funny little pamphlet to read, when I was about 12, and that was it. I guess it had been acquired for my brother (9 years older than me) and / or my sister (5 years older than me). All very embarrassing and no open conversations were ever had.  How things have changed, I was determined that this wouldn’t be my daughters experience so we started when they were under 10 with Babette Cole’s lovely book “Hair in Funny Places”

 

Not surprisingly the menopause was also never discussed. I’m sure my Mum experienced it but I have no recollection. Sadly she had mobility issues all her life and was regularly in pain and discomfort. So dealing with the menopause or her families awareness of it probably blended into our daily experience of her “ups and downs”.  By the time I was heading for the menopause Mum was deep in Alzheimer’s and not able to hold any sort of meaningful conversation.

Both my sisters had procedures pre menopause so I guess experienced an induced menopause probably supported by HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy)…….I don’t know, I’ve never asked. Most of my friends are younger than me and at the time of my menopause were not experiencing any symptoms, they now talk of hot flushes and night sweats! Other symptoms can include tiredness, inability to concentrate, irregular periods, difficulty sleeping, loss of sex drive, mood swings…..http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Menopause/Pages/Symptoms.aspx

My Menopause Experience

My menopause passed, perhaps is passing, in a fairly uneventful way. Although initially, looking back, I think it was probably tied up with a deeply upsetting relationship break-up. The emotional rollercoaster and tears were attributed to that. My periods were being erratic, irregular and a routine coil check and subsequent ultrasound found I had fibroids.

The removal of the oestrogen coil dealt with both the fibroids and an end to any bleeding.  A time on some medication for the emotional state I was in from the breakup helped me deal with my state of mind.  I don’t recall having hot flushes but I guess I do sometimes get night sweats, but nothing to wake me up or really disrupt my sleep.

So I’ve been lucky! I’ve not experienced any weight gain although that’s because exercise is my lifeline. I love to do some sort of physical activity. At the time of my menopause I was swimming regularly and walking an active dog. In last 4 years I have been working out at home with Julia Buckley’s online gym. This includes some workouts with weights and body-weight exercises which help to improve bone strength. This is important as the drop in oestrogen during the menopause leads to a loss in bone mass and an increased risk of osteoperosis. Read my blog on osteoporosis here.

Your Menopause Experience 

Many people suffer greatly at the menopause and do not necessarily get the right advice or know where to go. HRT has had bad press, sensationalizing or perhaps exaggerating the risks. It appears that HRT provides more benefits than risks to the majority of women, this is explained really well on www.menopausedoctor.co.uk. HRT replaces the hormones and masks menopausal symptoms, it doesn’t delay the menopause

There are some fabulous resources out there. In researching this blog I came across a couple of great things I’d like to share with you. Have look and feel empowered to take some action;

A great website from The Menopause Doctor a GP and Menopause Expert  www.menopausedoctor.co.uk
I hope this website helps to empower you with necessary information to make informed decisions regarding any treatment you may take to help turn your menopause into a positive experience that does not negatively impact your life.”

A great podcast in which Liz Earle talks to Dr Louise Newson (aka The Menopause Doctor) and covers the symptoms of the menopause, why it’s important to have a healthy lifestyle and dispels some of the myths around HRT.

A practicing nutritionist offers an alternative approach  “to help you eat your way through a symptom-free menopause”

Thanks for reading.

Jen x

www.jenafitlife.com

Twitter @jenafitlife

Instagram @jenafitlife

This blog contains an affiliate link

Fitness, mobility, exercise – are one of my 4 Pillars of Health, read about the others here https://www.jenafitlife.com/4-pillars-good-health/

Sign up to get notified of my new blog posts – pop your email address in the box at the top right of the page. I promise I won’t be sending spam or selling my email list!