Always be thankful for what you didn’t have years ago. The reason will eventually reveal itself. What I didn’t have thirty, twenty or even ten years ago were achy joints. When I was in my teens I could run like the wind. Well I was long legged and skinny. My father had been co-captain of the track team, and a sprinter when he was in high school. So I guess my running streak was inherited. I managed to continue to run and jog off and on well into my thirties. While I can still run around a track at least once I usually pay for it later.
The first time my knees started to ache, I thought, 'What is going on?' When I asked my mother if she had ever experienced this, she laughed and told me, “No, not at your age I didn’t!” I was in my early forties. I admit when I was much younger I didn’t quite uunderstand it when the old folks talked about their aching joints. I guess it takes something to hit home to finally reach an understanding.
I’ve started a daily regimen of glucosamine and chondroitin, which works towards preventing the debilitation of cartilage in the joints.
A year ago my mother made an appointment for the two of us to have a bone density test. I thought, ‘why not.’ With all of the talk about osteoporosis affecting women it certainly made sense to have the test – just to be sure I wasn’t at risk. By the time my paternal grandmother was 80 she had osteoporosis. I liked that my mother and I were going to the doctor together for the same test. You know a true bonding moment for mother and daughter.
Technology is amazing. The nurse applied a cream to my wrist and moved the SXA device along my wrist as she watched the reading on a screen. It was almost like a massage. I sat there wondering how such a small instrument could read the density of one’s bones. As it turned out my mother’s reading was -05, which means she is pre-osteoporosis. But my mother was 71 years old. So this in fact, as the nurse pointed out, is not a bad reading. My reading: -05! The same as my mother’s! The nurse pointed out to me that there were several factors as to why I was more prone to osteoporosis – I am tall, on the lean side and had previously smoked for over 20 years.
While the three of us got a real kick out of the fact that my mother and I had the same reading, I wasn’t laughing. I couldn’t wait to get to the drug store to stock up on calcium supplements. Since then I religiously take 1200 mg of calcium daily. To take more than my required dosage would not make a difference, as my doctor pointed out to me, the bones can only absorb so much, so it is a waste to take more than the recommended dosage.
By the way, smoking affects every organ in the body, robbing our bones of calcium, affecting all of the small blood vessels. It will be four years, November 1, since I called it quits cold turkey. Not a day has gone by that I have hankered for a cigarette. In fact the smell of tobacco when anyone around me lights up literally makes me nauseous. I don’t want to get all spiritual, but I asked God to take this habit away from me once and for all.
This is the best thing I could have ever done for my health. I quietly celebrate this achievement every year on that day.
Now that I know what it takes to keep my joints healthy I know what to do when my knees act up. Humidity is not a friend to achy joints, so it is important for me to stay on top of taking my glucosamine and chondroitin. I mean, I still have a desire to run, and to run in a marathon – one day. In the meantime I’m off to do some serious power walking! Yes, this is MY body!
Anyway, that's the way I see it.
An Easy Guide to Healthy Joints:
Always consult with your physician before starting any exercise or diet program.