Staying Healthy in the Middle Years
Our bodies are changing as we reach our middle years (ages 50-70), and taking good care of ourselves allows us to embrace the new experiences ahead of us at this stage in our lives. We’ve asked one of our MedStar Washington Hospital Center physicians for advice to help you feel your best. Here Dr. James Tozzi discusses the importance of maintaining healthy bones, and when you may want to seek advice from an expert.
Strong, Healthy Bones
Maintaining healthy bones is a lifelong pursuit, says James Tozzi, MD, an orthopaedic surgeon. “Good habits that are developed early in life, together with genetics, provide the foundation for a resilient skeletal system,” he explains.
However, Dr. Tozzi continues, two controllable factors can help us keep bones stronger at any age: the right exercise and a healthy diet (rich in calcium and Vitamin D, among other nutrients).
“Exercise that relies on some form of resistance, such as lifting weights, pilates or even swimming, is what helps us maintain our bone density and overall bone health,” Dr. Tozzi says. “Finding an activity we enjoy, so that we will make time to do it regularly, is essential for both physical and mental health.”
When Would we Need to Seek Advice about the Health of our Bones?
Dr. Tozzi says that for most people, the early signs of conditions related to bone deterioration (such as osteoporosis or osteoarthritis) will involve a change in how they are feeling. “If you develop pain that won’t go away, pain that wakes you in the night, or muscle pain that feels different than just the soreness that accompanies activity, you should consider being evaluated by an orthopaedist or internist,” he advises.