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Physical Activity Is Important For Healthy Bones: Dr Manan Vora

In an exclusive conversation with BW Healthcareworld, Interventional Orthopedist and Sports Physician Dr Manan Vora, talks about common bone health issues and some interesting ways to mitigate it.

Deficiency of Vitamin D3 is so common these days, what are some early measures to prevent it?

The best ways to prevent a vitamin D deficiency are to eat foods that are rich in this nutrient and to spend some time outside in the sun each day. It is also important to maintain a healthy body weight. Cycling or walking can provide both exercise and exposure to sunlight. Incase adequate sunlight exposure is not possible, supplementing yourself with a course of Vitamin D3 once a year should be good enough.

Parents usually want their kids to focus on academics and don't allow them much to engage in sports. How does this affect their children in future with respect to bone health?

The two most important lifelong bone health habits to encourage in children are proper nutrition and plenty of physical activity.

Eating for healthy bones means getting plenty of foods that are rich in calcium, vitamin D, zinc and magnesium. Most kids do not get enough calcium in their diets to help ensure optimal peak bone mass. 

Physical activity is equally important for building healthy bones. It provides benefits that are most pronounced in the areas of the skeleton that bear the most weight.

Muscles get stronger when we use them. The same idea applies to bones - the more work they do, the stronger they get. Any kind of physical exercise is great for your kids, but the best ones for their bones are weight-bearing activities like walking, running, hiking, dancing, tennis, basketball, gymnastics and soccer. Resistance exercises like lifting weights can also strengthen bones. Organized sports can be fun and build confidence, but they are not the only way to build healthy bones.

The most important thing is for your kids to spend less time sitting and more time on their feet and moving. Alone or with friends, at home or at the park, one of the best gifts you can give your kids is a lifelong love of physical activity.

Parents must be encouraged to allow their kids to get at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week. 

During COVID or even post-COVID, people have been complaining about joint pains specially in the lower body. What are the reasons to it and how can one fight it?

Recent research finds that nearly 15 percent of COVID-19 patients report experiencing joint pain. Viral infections are a known cause of acute arthralgia (joint pain) and arthritis.

A different study finds that the COVID virus can trigger the body to attack itself in different ways that could lead to rheumatological issues.

Inflammatory joint disease can occur from a systemic viral infection that stimulates a widespread immune response throughout the body, which includes both muscle aches and joint pain.

If you are experiencing pain in your knees, hips or other joints - whether or not you have had COVID-19 - talk to your doctor.

Other options for treating joint pain include:

- Applying ice and heat and resting

- Physical therapy

- Staying active

- Over-the-counter medication

- Losing weight

- Supplementation

If it stays beyond a point, consult an Orthopaedic doctor.

Parents tend to ignore bone health of their children, thinking that chocolate flavoured milk is enough for them and bone related issues are age bound. What are your views on this?

Typically, when parents think about their children’s health, they don’t think about their bones. But building healthy bones by adopting healthy nutritional and lifestyle habits in childhood is important to help prevent osteoporosis and fractures later in life.

Osteoporosis, the disease that causes bones to become less dense and more prone to fractures, has been called 'a childhood disease with old age consequences,' because the bone mass attained in childhood and adolescence is an important determinant of lifelong skeletal health. The health habits your kids are forming now can make or literally break, their bones as they age.

While milk is great, it's not the only source of calcium. 

Drinking one 8-ounce glass of milk provides 300 milligrams (mg) of calcium, which is about one-third of the recommended intake for younger children and about one-fourth of the recommended intake for teens.

Drinking milk isn’t the only way to enjoy its benefits. For example, try making soup and oatmeal or other hot cereals with milk instead of water. Pour milk over cold cereal for breakfast or a snack. Incorporate milk into a fruit smoothie or milkshake. Chocolate milk and cocoa made with milk are also ways to increase the milk in your child’s diet.

Sources of calcium also might include an ounce or two of cheese on pizza or a cheeseburger, a cup of calcium-enriched orange juice or a small carton of yogurt. Your kids can also get calcium from dark green, leafy vegetables like kale or bok choy or foods such as broccoli, almonds, tortillas or tofu made with calcium. Many popular foods such as cereals, breads and juices now have calcium added too. Check the nutrition facts label on the package to be sure.


Low-fat cheeses & yogurt, calcium-fortified juices, cereals and green leafy vegetables can all fit easily into a healthy diet.



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