I did some running when I was in my 20’s. I wasn’t very fast, but I enjoyed it and it was good exercise.

I took a break from running when my children were young and then started again when they began running cross country. I found out some things had changed over that break, most notably, my knees. X-rays confirmed arthritis in both knees, and I was advised to give up running. I learned from a chiropractor that strengthening the muscles in my legs would help to support my knees, but I filed that information in the back of my mind and settled for occasional walks.

Fast forward to three years ago. Osteopenia finally woke me up to the need to exercise and I began a regimen of weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening exercises. Even though I had given up running, I walked in some 5K races in the area. My goal was twofold but simple: to finish in under an hour and not to be the last person to cross the finish line! My time was usually between 55 and 59 minutes, and I usually spent the rest of the day with legs elevated, icing my inflamed knees.

But every now and then, I dreamed that I was running. In my dreams, I had found a way to run without touching the ground! I described those dreams to a Trak Shak salesperson who recommended a Hoka running shoe for me.  Walking in Hokas has been the next best thing to running without touching the ground.

With three years of exercise behind me and Hoka shoes to support me, I started running again. In June, I walked/ran 3.1 miles (5K) in my neighborhood and finished in 47 minutes- not great, but almost nine minutes faster than my fastest walking 5K.

Is it possible that my recently improved diet could already be strengthening my muscles and joints? I’m able to run almost a mile without pain now, and my current 5K PR in the neighborhood is 44:33. I’m still slow compared to almost everyone else I encounter on the trail, but I have a new twofold goal now: to run as much as I can without causing injury and to run without concern about others being faster.

What about you? Do you run for exercise? What are your goals? Tell me what motivates you to keep moving. And tell me about your shoes!

Melissa and Morgan, Smith Family Resources
Morgan is my post-run encourager!

Weight-Bearing and Muscle-Strengthening Exercises

I’ve heard from several of you who have also been working in the bone density department.  Thanks for your encouragement!

I thought you might like to see more detail of what my friend Kristin shared with me.  The “Exercise for Strong Bones” pages include information from the National Osteoporosis Foundation, modified slightly for me.   If you can’t read it, click on the images to enlarge.Exercise for Strong Bones, National Osteoporosis FoundationExercise page 2I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I didn’t understand the connection between exercise and bone health.  I was hoping I could just take a supplement and forego the exercise, but that’s just not how the body was designed.  I’ve learned some fascinating things about bones and muscles, so check back here later for more of my discoveries.

Please share what you’ve learned about building bone density!  I love to hear from you!

Bone Ami?

When I learned of my osteopenia diagnosis, my first thought was of Beeyoutiful’s Bone Ami.  Bone Ami contains vitamin D, calcium, magnesium, zinc, copper and manganese, all of which are very important for bone health.  I had a dream of coming back for my next bone density scan and wowing everybody with my bone growth.  Then I would say, “I owe it all to Beeyoutiful and Bone Ami!”That’s not exactly what happened.  I still think Bone Ami is a great product, but it didn’t seem to be the answer for me.  I took it for several months but stopped when it seemed to be aggravating my gall bladder.  I found myself in a catch-22.  The supplements that were good for my bones were bad for my gall bladder.  The diet for prevention of gall stones didn’t include the foods that would help my bones.  What to do??

Well, I went to work on my gall bladder.  Several cleanses later, the gall bladder pain was under control, and I attempted to help my bones with some additional calcium in my meals.  But my diet changes weren’t enough.  When it was time for the next scan, not only had I not experienced any bone growth, I had actually lost!

Sigh.  It wasn’t going to be as simple as taking Bone Ami.  I was going to have to work a little harder…

No Bones About It!

DXA Bone Densitometry ReportDo you know what this is?

This is a DXA Bone Densitometry Report.

To be exact, it’s two of those–one from 2012 and the other from 2014.

In case you can’t read the small print, these reports together say, “Melissa, you have to do something about your bones!!!!”

What they actually say is that from February 2012 until August 2014, I lost bone density and I already didn’t have that much to lose.  The latest report tells me that I’m osteopenic with a T-score of -2.4.  I learned that a normal T-score for my age is -1 or higher.  If someone has osteoporosis, the T-score is -2.5 or lower.  My T-score is awfully close to osteoporosis.

So, I’ve been learning about bones and bone density, and I’ve found out that I have a lot to learn!  Do you have any advice?  Please comment!  I’ll be sharing what I’ve learned in the next few days, and I’d be thrilled if you would share, too!