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Catch me, I'm falling...

My mantra is Get well, live well, age well, for a reason. Today was a prime example of what I mean.

I went to meet my sisters, mom and sister-in-law for a belated birthday celebration on Long Beach Island.

No sooner than arriving at our destination we were met with catastrophe. My mother has balance issues, however she is 82 now. And unfortunately, as she toppled over, she took my sister with her. And we hadn’t even had a luncheon cocktail!

The upshot was that my mom, although shaken, has fallen many times, and knows how to relax and reduce her chances of injury. My sister on the other hand, was caught off guard and she took the brunt of the fall. Actually, her wrist took the hit.

EMTs and ambulances. Off to the emergency room. My sister, who had just arrived the other day from Texas, went with her to the hospital and spent several hours there.

The rest of us went to a subdued lunch. We followed up with our own trek to the hospital to wait until all the x-rays and vitals were taken, scripts written, and release given. You know the drill – hours later.

And I won’t even go into the difficulty in finding a pharmacy open past 5pm on a Sunday.

But we all stuck together and got it done. So a birthday celebration we won’t forget!

Back to Get well, live well, age well. None of us are spring chickens, ranging in age from 53 to 82, however how well we are, as we enter these years is so important to our recovery from accidents. Did you hear recently that people with balance issues have more fatalities?

Yes, for those of you over 65, fall-related deaths have increase 30% from 2009 to 2018, with the fastest rate in those 85 years or older. Now, as you know if you have been following me for awhile women are going to live an average of 87.9 years. So yes, you will have an increase chance of taking a fall. But will it be fatal?

It doesn’t have to be, if we take steps now that increase our balance, our muscle strength, and our bone density, which will safeguard us against these fatalities.

And how do we do that? As we age, our muscles diminish, and fat replaces the muscle mass. This is known as sarcopenia. This is a progression that is accepted as we get older, however, the latest insights are that regular weight-bearing exercises, including resistance training, walking and fitness training reduce the loss of muscle mass.

Eating well also reduces the affects of sarcopenia and getting these key nutrients help promote muscle growth and enhance the benefits associated with working out:

  • Protein: 1.2 and 1.6 g/kg body weight, 145 lbs woman, light activity – 72 grams of protein

  • Vitamin D: so important for bone density

  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids – anti-inflammatory and may help signal muscle growth directly, much like increase protein does

  • Creatine – although we create it in our liver, supplementing may help increase the benefits of resistance training

Additionally, as we age our bone density decreases, resulting in osteopenia and osteoporosis. The good news is that if we have osteopenia, which is a decline in bone density, we can reverse that with the proper nutrition and exercise.

Osteoporosis is when our bones get very brittle and fracture easily. Even a sneeze can cause a break! So we don’t want to get to this point, where the most likely fracture is the wrist, spine or hip.

Good nutrition and regular exercise all help maintain our bones and deter osteoporosis. Getting enough of the following are important to maintaining bone density:

  • Calcium – from dairy products, dark leafy greens, tofu, sardines and canned salmon (with the bones)

  • Vitamin D – sunlight, fortified milk, salmon, trout, cod liver oil

We most likely need to supplement our Vitamin D as most people are deficient. I know I was about over a year ago and had a megadose prescribed to get my level up. Since then I have been taking a D3-K supplement, and am getting a DEXA scan this week to check my bone density level. I will let you know the outcome. I am expecting good results as I have coupled my supplements with regular weight bearing exercise and eating well.

Strong muscles and bones maintain our balance. Good balance means a decreased likelihood of falling, and not falling decreases our likelihood of injury or death as we age.

I hope you know that I want you to become healthy, stay well, and continue to live a quality life well into your eighties and beyond. That is why I share this information with you each week and encourage you to take just one step toward getting on track today. And if you need help getting started, you know I am in your corner. Please reach out.

In the meantime, here is a great breakfast recipe for you to get the protein, calcium, healthy fat and fiber you need to support your muscles, bones and health as you go through menopause.

  • Combine 1/4 cup (71 grams) of Greek yogurt with 1/3 cup (30 grams) of rolled oats and 1/3 cup (80 mL) of milk (dairy or plant-based). Add a dash of honey, chia seeds, and fresh fruit, then refrigerate the mixture overnight. Enjoy cold or hot!



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