Bone Health refers to the ability of the skeletons and density in the bones to protect, repair and recover from serious injuries. The bones in our body work as a support system, building strength and also shapes our postural by encouraging the growth and development of our skeletal frame and/or structure.
October brings us another event from the National Health Services calendar – National Back Care Week ( 8th – 12th ). The campaign organised by BackCare discusses the risks, prevention and treatments caused by back pain.
We will be acknowledging this information to help us maintain our skeletal structure from minor and severe injuries.
The development of our skeletal structure begins at a very young age. The human body consists of 206 bones which fused together from over 270 which we were initially born with. This does not include the other small bones which are found in our wrists, neck and even ears! – An amazing fact of the human skeletons!!
Our bones also help the body to store sufficient minerals and enable us the luxury of mobility. But, over time – the bones could lose its rigidity to endure deformation which may lead to illnesses and/or diseases such as:-
- Osteopenia – bone thinning due to a decline in bone mineral and also a precursor to osteoporosis
- Osteoporosis – brittle and fragile bone tissues due to lack of calcium and Vitamin D, and hormonal imbalances
- Multiple Myeloma – a bone cancer which develops in the blood-forming cells of the bone marrow.
It’s vital to ensure we take great care of our bone marrow as it contains 2 types of stem cells hemopoietic and stromal which raises the production of new red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets which aids in preventing cancer!
To maintain healthy bones, foods enriched in calcium must be consumed. Foods high in Vitamin D helps the body absorb the calcium intake which encourages the growth and structure of your bones.
You should consume foods that encourage healthy bone development and helps to maintain it’s vitality:-
- Salmon – one serving provides all the Vitamin D you need for a day and the canned versions with edible bones are packed with lots of calcium
- Low Fat Yogurt – one 8 ounce serving provides 42 per cent of your daily calcium needs
- Breakfast cereals and milk – consume cereals fortified with Vitamin D and reap the benefits of calcium absorption in one
- Dark leafy greens – kale, Swiss chard, turnip greens are rich in Vitamins C, A and K, which also helps calcium absorption
- Soy or almond products – consume ones which are enriched with calcium and Vitamin D
According to a recent study, younger adults between ages 25 to 45 are more likely to experience a backache i.e. lumbar disc herniation or degenerative disc disease.
Leading an active lifestyle is also a great way of taking care of the postural structures of our bones. It starts with an aligned and straight spine!
As an employer, you can encourage your employees to perform these exercises to stretch and improve their back even whilst at work. :-
- The Routine – Avoid sitting too far from the desk, ensure sight and arms are aligned to the computer and that you’re sitting all the way back in the chair to help with the natural curve of your spine.
- Planks – Lie face down on the floor with your palms alongside shoulders and that your feet and legs are together. Raise yourself and straighten your arms and balance equally. Do for 30 seconds and gradually increase time. Works abdominal muscles, shoulders and back.
- Back Extensions – Lie face down, extend your arms straight above the head. Gently lift your shoulders as far off the floor, keeping your head in line with your spine. Repeat 10 times. This exercise is great for the posture as it strengthens the back.
- Shoulder Rolls – an Easy exercise that you can do sitting or standing. Helps relieve tension and improves posture. Raise your shoulders and shoulder blades to your ears as you inhale and gently release shoulder as you exhale. Repeat 5 to 10 times.
Practising these neutral postures will help in activating your core musculatures effectively, decreasing inflammation which causes degeneration of discs.
If your job requires the lifting and moving of heavy objects, always use the right equipment and effective techniques to avoid any form of injury to your spine.
- Always push heavier objects rather than pulling
- Keep the spine aligned even when reaching to pick something light off the floor
- Avoid twisting your back while lifting
Even the slightest twist in your back could cause excruciating pain and left unattended could lead to other spine related diseases.
Remember – Always use your legs to lift and never your back!
Preventing injuries at work highly benefits the productivity and profits of your business. It is the responsibility of the organisation to ensure their employees are:-
- Always equipped with the right tools which are suitable for the required duties and working environment
- Strictly adhere to company policies on implementing health and safety
- Frequently run risk assessments on all manually handled jobs
- Train employees to conduct their duties responsibly by following company procedures
- Promote frequent short breaks to encourage employees to do stretching exercises
- Encourage employees to lead an active lifestyle to promote healthy bones and muscles.
- Practice stress-busting routines among colleagues to prevent back and neck pain.
When it comes to bone health – Prevention IS better than cure!
Sit up straight and stand tall – Great posture leads to a life full of incredible health benefits including good digestion!!
So – give your backbone the attention it deserves and starts taking care of your spine!
Maintain great POSTURAL through the body’s SUPPORT SYSTEM – your SKELETAL!
* An article I wrote for a client from the Fitness and Health Industry.