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Healthy Ageing Month: 4 Expert Tips To Optimise Bone And Joint Health

Like anything to do with health, “prevention is better than cure,” so here are some guidelines from Specialist Orthopaedic Surgeon Dr Sharmila Tulpule to stop age chipping away at bone and joint health…

September is Healthy Ageing Month, the perfect time to get started on better health practices and reflect on what you can do to age as well as possible. If you think it's too late to “re-invent” yourself, the annual occurrence, which is all about the positive aspects of growing old, is here to help encourage you to act how you feel instead of your actual age.

Dr Sharmila Tulpule

While healthy ageing includes a hale and hearty mental, social and financial state as well as physical wellness, preparing your body for a fit future is one thing we can do today. Here, Dr Sharmila Tulpule, a Specialist Orthopaedic Surgeon at the Saudi German Clinic, Jumeirah, focuses on how to stay bone-healthy. It’s a vital topic because as we grow older, the strength of our bones deteriorates, so it’s important you do what’s necessary to maintain strength, balance and bone health at all stages in our lives.

It’s never too late to begin taking steps to ensure you have healthy bones and joints, so here are some essential tips from Tulpule, one of the few female orthopaedic surgeons practicing in the GCC and UAE, to keep in mind.

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Fit in strength and flexibility exercises into your routine

Strength and flexibility exercises are important as they benefit your bone health. According to Tulpule, who has been practicing for over 25 years, inactivity is your enemy as you grow older, especially since your joints can lose almost half their motion. Any injuries can compound the issue, however, regular stretching exercises and walks will help keep joints and muscles healthy and flexible.

Walking is a weight‐bearing exercise, and the more you walk, the stronger the bones in your hips and legs will become. This is also true for people who have arthritis, one of the pains of growing old. Additionally, regular low-impact exercises have proven to slow down the process of bone and joint health degradation. The bottom line is exercise increases strength and flexibility, reduces joint pain and helps combat fatigue.

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Add bone-healthy foods to your shopping basket

It is a well-known fact that lean protein and high fibre fruits, vegetables and whole grains are the best types of food for health. This is especially true for older people, taking into consideration that as we grow older, our digestive systems slow down. The internationally acclaimed Tulpule, who has a vast experience in arthroscopic surgeries as well, believes fibre is your best friend when it comes to helping in the digestive process. Likewise, calcium and vitamin D are essential for healthy bones. Fish is one of the primary foods with a substantial natural level of vitamin D, which helps in effectively absorbing calcium from the foods we eat.

Bone-healthy staples to add to your grocery list include leafy greens such as kale, spinach and broccoli and omega-3s such as salmon and sardines. Fruits and nuts like figs, almonds and walnuts, as well as pulses such as red kidney beans and black beans are also great additions. For those who are less likely to get the necessary amounts from the food they consume, the GMC, Nagpur University- trained Tulpule recommends considering supplements after consulting their doctor.

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Make harmful practices a thing of the past

Unhealthy habits like smoking and regular drinking of alcohol contribute to weak bones. Tulpule, who has been working in Dubai, across reputed hospitals, for over 13 years, says it is advisable to stay away from these to reduce the risk of osteoporosis. You can avoid a lot of pain in the future by making the right choices today.

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Turn to your doctor for help

If you're concerned about your bone health and observe any symptoms of osteoporosis, consult your doctor as soon as possible. Tulpule, who has trained in France as well, says a bone density test can help your doctor assess it and determine your rate of bone loss. Often, the right medication or treatment will help you take control of your health and age better.

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