June 2019 - Back and Bone Health
A Message from Your Hometown Health Manager
Hydration is a common area of wellness that is overlooked. With all the summer heat we are experiencing, it becomes even more critical! Staying hydrated is just as important to your health as your nutrition and staying physically active.

To help you stay more aware of your water intake, we will be launching the “Rethink Your Drink” Wellness Challenge ! From June 26 to July 23, we're challenging you to opt for water instead of other beverages throughout the day. All you have to do is enter whether or not you had six or more glasses of water on 21 of 28 days throughout the challenge period. When you do that for at least 14 of those days, you will earn your Hometown Health Activity Reward !

Drinking water in lieu of other beverages may be easier said than done. By signing up for this wellness challenge, you will also receive tips and advice on how to help you stay on track.
You can sign up to participate in this challenge by logging into your Hometown Health portal starting June 12. The registration period will end July 3.

If you have any questions about this wellness challenge or need assistance with your Hometown Health portal , please give our dedicated WebMD Customer Service a call at 855.667.2546 or send us an email .

All the Best,

Gwen Mahabir
Four Exercises to Help Strengthen Your Back
If you’ve ever had a backache, you know how it can derail a perfectly good day. So how do you help avoid that kind of discomfort and inconvenience in the future?

One key way: Build strength in your core — the crucial muscles that support your spine.

Start your strong core program
If you’ve had a back injury, always get your doctor’s OK before you start exercising. Once you have the green light, consider starting with these back and abdominal exercises.

Aim for eight to 12 repetitions of each move. If you can’t do that many at first, start with fewer and build up gradually over time. Remember: “No pain, no gain” has no place here. If these exercises are painful, stop right away and talk with your doctor.

1. Cat-Cow Warm Up. This may help loosen the joints of the spine and restore flexibility to the spinal muscles and ligaments.

  • Start on all fours, hands and knees on the floor. Knees are hip-width apart. Hands are below your shoulders, with the elbows straight but not locked. Look down at the floor.
  • As you exhale, let your head move toward your chest while rounding your back like a cat (spine toward ceiling). Hold for 10 seconds.
  • As you inhale, let your stomach move toward the floor (arching your lower back). Allow your shoulder blades to move together. Hold for 10 seconds.
  • Alternate between the two positions.

2. Bird Dog. This exercise may be good for the upper and lower back and hamstrings (muscles in back of the thigh). Be sure to warm up first.

  • Start on all fours, hands and knees on floor.
  • Extend one leg and the opposite arm so that they are parallel to the floor. Hold this position for seven or eight seconds. Then repeat with the opposite arm and leg.
  • Alternate between the two positions.

Bone Health: Tips to Keep Your Bones Healthy
Protecting your bone health is easier than you think. Understand how diet, physical activity and other lifestyle factors can affect your bone mass.

Bones play many roles in the body — providing structure, protecting organs, anchoring muscles and storing calcium. While it's important to build strong and healthy bones during childhood and adolescence, you can take steps during adulthood to protect bone health, too.

Why is bone health important?
Your bones are continuously changing — new bone is made, and old bone is broken down. When you're young, your body makes new bone faster than it breaks down old bone, and your bone mass increases. Most people reach their peak bone mass around age 30. After that, bone remodeling continues, but you lose slightly more bone mass than you gain.

How likely you are to develop osteoporosis — a condition that causes bones to become weak and brittle — depends on how much bone mass you attain by the time you reach age 30 and how rapidly you lose it after that. The higher your peak bone mass, the more bone you have "in the bank" and the less likely you are to develop osteoporosis as you age.

Nutrition & Osteoporosis:What You Should Know
The most important nutrients for people with osteoporosis are calcium and vitamin D.

Calcium is a key building block for your bones. Vitamin D helps your body to absorb calcium.

How much should you get? It depends, in part, on your age and gender.

For calcium:
  • Children ages 1-3 should get 700 milligrams of calcium a day.
  • Children ages 4-8 should get 1,000 milligrams per day.
  • Children over age 9 and teenagers should get 1,300 milligrams of calcium a day.
  • Women over age 51 and men over age 71 should get 1,200 milligrams per day. All other adults should get 1,000 milligrams per day.

For vitamin D:
  • 600 international units (IU) of vitamin D per day from age 1 through age 70
  • 800 IU daily after age 70.

Some osteoporosis experts recommend 800 to 1,200 IU of vitamin D per day.

To find out how much vitamin D you personally need, consider a blood test for the vitamin (25-hydroxy vitamin D) from your doctor. It measures how much vitamin D is in your body.

Experts think that vitamin D may do more to protect you from osteoporosis than only helping you absorb calcium.

Best Exercise for Osteoporosis
It's never too late to start a bone-healthy exercise program, even if you already have osteoporosis.

You may worry that being active means you're more likely to fall and break a bone. But the opposite is true.

A regular, properly designed exercise program may actually help prevent falls and fractures. That's because exercise
strengthens bones and muscles and improves balance, coordination, and flexibility. That's key for people with osteoporosis.

Check With Your Doctor
Before you start a new workout routine, check with your doctor and physical therapist. They can tell you what's safe for your stage of osteoporosis, your fitness level, and your weight. There is no single exercise plan that's best for everyone with osteoporosis. The routine you choose should be unique to you and based on your:

  • Fracture risk
  • Muscle strength
  • Range of motion
  • Level of physical activity
  • Fitness
  • Gait
  • Balance

Your doctor also will consider any other health problems that have a bearing on your ability to exercise, such as obesity, high blood pressure, and  heart disease

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