Whenever my birthday rolls around, thoughts turn to what I can do for myself for just one day, to make that day extra special for me. Usually those thoughts turn to where I can get a good massage or possibly experience an exhilarating facial. However, I recently came across a plan that seems like the perfect gift to give myself the next time September 11th rolls around: The One-Hour-Per-Year Plan.
All this plan does is ask you to think about your bones for one hour each year. It is a self-assessment check-list of sorts, to keep you on track for strong and healthy bones for a lifetime. You are never too young or too old to begin! Take a look at what this one-hour gift of health asks of you:
1) Measure your height. I measure my three sons’ heights on a monthly basis. I never considered to measure my own. After all, I have stood at just barely less than 5’6” tall for all of my adult life. However, changes in your height can signal a possible warning sign of osteoporosis. Be sure to measure your height in the morning, as that is the time of day when you are the tallest. (Did you know that by the end of the day, you can actually measure a half inch shorter?) If you discover that you are shorter this year than last year by more than a half inch, or if you have lost 1 ½ inches from your adult height, please consult your doctor.
2) Weigh yourself. Ugh. The dreaded bathroom scale - usually more of a foe than a friend. While some women weigh themselves as often as they brush their teeth, others prefer to avoid the scales at all costs. However, all women can benefit from weighing themselves annually. This can let you know if you are getting a bit too heavy. The sooner you discover a change, the sooner you can correct it. Conversely, a decrease in weight over time can signify a medical problem. Most people reach their peak body weight in their 50s and 60s, slowly losing in their 70s, 80s, and 90s. Low body weight is a risk factor for osteoporosis, so keep a steady eye on it!
3) Test your balance. Starting in your 40s and 50s, coordination and balance begin to decline. If you see any changes, you can work to correct them.