For my last annual check-up, I had a bone density scan and got a nasty surprise.
Like far too many women my age, I’ve got osteoporosis.
“But I walk everywhere!“ I protested to my doctor. “I walk for at least an hour a day. And I work at a public library, so I’m not only on my feet for long stretches of time but I’m always carrying books around. Isn‘t checking in hefty tomes like ‘The Goldfinch’ just like lifting weights?”
She told me that although all that walking is great for my overall health and keeps me lean, I am — ironically — too lean for it to constitute the kind of weight-bearing exercise that would strengthen my skeleton. (Here’s the bright side for those of you who are struggling to lose that last 10 pounds. Don’t. Carrying that extra weight around is good for your bones.)
As it turns out, I’ve also got several bad habits that, over the years, have leached the calcium out of my bones — drinking lots of coffee and over-salting my food.
My doc has given me a year to do what I can to strengthen my bones. Or else? I’ll have to go on that drug Sally Field is always pushing on TV.
I’ve researched what I can do to improve my bone density.
One study concluded that when postmenopausal women ate 12 prunes a day, it improved their bone density.
Another thing I can do?
Women who jumped 20 times a day, according to a different study, also improved their bone density.
From now on, just think of me as the prune-eating, leaping librarian.
(Prunes being what they are, I’m lucky that my digestive system is very sturdy, or I’d be the leaping farting librarian.)
I now keep a supply of prunes in the staff fridge. (The upside? Unlike my former go-to snack, vanilla jelly beans, my new snack supply lasts a lot longer, since none of my co-workers ever ask if they can have one. The downside? They’re prunes.)
Now, when you approach the circulation desk at the library where I work, I’ll leap into the air before asking “How can I help you?”
How have our patrons responded to this behavior? So far, they’ve been too polite and well-mannered to mention it.(Although one dude grinned and asked if I was working on my David Lee Roth imitation.)
I’ve also stopped over-salting my food. And I’ve cut down (a little) on my coffee drinking. It’s far too early to tell if any of this is doing me any good. Check back in a year. In the meantime? If you haven’t gotten a bone density scan, I encourage you to do so.
The sooner you get on it, the better for your bones.
I do hope that your bones, unlike mine, are fabulous. But, the next time you come into my library, if I leap into the air and ask “How can I help you?” and you leap into the air before asking if I can put “Strong Women, Strong Bones” on hold for you, I’ll leap into the air again and say “Certainly.“
Then I’ll offer you a prune.
(Roz Warren is the author of OUR BODIES, OUR SHELVES: A COLLECTION OF LIBRARY HUMOR. This piece first appeared on www.zestnow.com.)
8 thoughts on “Leaping Librarian!”
Hmmm… I don’t like prunes, jumping, or anything that doesn’t require coffee. It’s only a matter of time until my bones mutiny. I love this post except that it’s predicting a very dark future for me.
I’m told that yoga also works. You could try that?
I was just bemoaning the fact that I have added a few extra pounds, and now instead of shedding them I’m buying bigger clothes! I love the book ‘Strong Women Strong Bones.’ Miriam Nelson has done a boat load of excellent research in the field of reversing osteoporosis with weight bearing exercise. I think she’d be interested in your strategy of eating prunes and jumping and perhaps she could include this in her next study. 🙂
But I WANT to lost 10 pounds (20 actually). And I LOVE salt! I drink only one cup of coffee a day – cut down? I already have osteoarthritis, so I’m hoping the bone scan I had yesterday (great timing for this post) shows that I haven’t crossed the threshold into osteoporosis (sorry about your diagnosis). I’ll be getting prunes today just in case (they’ll help another problem I have anyway). And I’ll start jumping (thank you, Leaping Librarian)!
You’re welcome. And good luck with that bone scan.
Please reserve my copy of “Strong Women, Strong Bones.” That’s not exactly my bone problem, but I’ll try to extrapolate.
First no salt, now prunes. I see we won’t be getting donuts for breakfast in the near future. LOL
A plum of a post, Roz.
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