This post is sponsored by Sunsweet. Thank you, Sunsweet!
Next month I turn 39, which means I’m a little more than 13 months away from my 40th birthday. Forty! How did that happen? Mentally, I still feel young, but physically? Not so much. Besides the fact that I have to keep up with twelve seven and eight-year-olds at softball practice three days a week, I’m constantly injuring myself in the stupidest ways. Like, remember when I fainted in front of my refrigerator and got a concussion? And did I ever tell you guys about the time I fell down the steps of the USC bookstore in front of about a thousand people?
Despite my clumsiness, I’m still a card-carrying member of the Never Broken a Bone club. It’s honestly shocking. Despite all the years of sports, all the things I’ve tripped over, and all the things I’ve accidentally kicked, I haven’t even broken a finger or toe. But I know better than to assume I won’t somehow break my streak (pun intended), so I’ve started taking steps to keep my bones strong and healthy.
First thing I’ve really focused on is physical activity. Working from home makes for a very sedentary day without coworkers to visit and meetings to attend. Even though I reallllllllly hate exercising, regular weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening moves help maintain strong bones and muscles. So, when I’m not chasing kids around the softball field, I focus on three things.
- Walking. Not like, walking to the fridge (if that made you fit I would look like Heidi Klum) but walks around the neighborhood. It helps that I have a dog that needs to be walked! Now that it’s lighter longer, Mike and I make it a point to have a 30-minute family walk a few evenings a week. Not only is it good for Mike and me, but it’s giving our kids healthy habits.
- Yoga. When I was in the best shape of my life (yeah, it was high school, whatever) I did a lot of yoga and I really enjoyed it. Now I try to spend at least 10-15 minutes a day doing different yoga poses. I usually do this at night after my kids are asleep…it’s hard to get zen in your downward dog when you know a kid might yell, “Mooooooom,” at any moment!
- House workouts. Remember how I said working from home is very sedentary? I could EASILY work on my couch for five straight hours without getting up. I mean, half my job is watching shows on Netflix! So I set a timer reminding me to get up once an hour, and I spend at least 5 minutes (or longer if my workload allows) and do quick exercises around the house. Sometimes I’ll do pushups against the kitchen counter, sometimes I do lunges, sometimes I jog in place. I also try to do at least one core-strengthening move every day to help support my back — usually some sit-ups.
Besides moving my body, I’m more mindful of what I eat. Don’t get me wrong, I still put down a pint of ice cream every once in a while, but eating well not only helps me feel better now, it also contributes to long-term bone health. Prunes contain potassium, magnesium, and vitamin K, all of which are important for bone health. Research suggests that eating five to six prunes each day may help to prevent bone loss. This is easy for me – I love prunes and snack on them daily.
And JAMES, my picky little bird, polishes off a bag of Amaz!n diced prunes every few days (he practically lived on them at Disney World). With Annie, I mix diced prunes into the foods she already loves, like cereal or yogurt. And with Mike, who is an even older member of the Never Broken a Bone club, I say things like, “You’re an adult, you don’t need me to tell you to eat prunes,” and then I stare at him silently. Works every time.
He’ll thank me when we’re old and free from bone fractures!
May is National Osteoporosis Month, so it’s a good time to take stock of how you’re preventing bone loss. Sunsweet has a great infographic on steps you can take to improve bone health, while their Facebook page has yummy recipes and other tips to help keep osteoporosis at bay.