Appearances can be deceptive

Hello and how are you? Have you had a good weekend? This is Fiona my new swimming buddy. We had a dip together last week not long after she arrived on the island to take up her role in the accounts department. According to her, an office job isn't too bad if you live on a beautiful island like this.

And who am I to argue with her? Fiona is finding it tough to acclimatise to the sea temperature here, but that may have something to do with the fact that she's lived in Australia for the past two years. She'll be fine in a month or two ...

 What did you think to your first sea swim on Green Beach, I asked?

"It was okay. A bit too cold to get my face and head under though." was her response. In the past I've prided myself in helping friends and sometimes mere acquaintances to brave the chilly island waters - mostly with a resounding success rate - but with Fiona I felt I maybe needed to allow her to do it her way.  She's going to try a spell in a wetsuit, which sounds like a good idea.

I really like this photograph. Don't we both look brimming with health and vitality? But appearances can be deceptive. You may recall I had a bone density scan in March. Well, the results are back and it turns out that I have osteoporosis in the long bone in my left thigh. Two bones in my spine and my pelvis are in the osteopenia range too. In one way I was surprised as I have this notion of myself being very fit due to all of the cycling and swimming I do. However, I know that I've been calcium deficient for years thanks to my allergy to dairy products. It's so long since I ate dairy that I've completely lost track of how many years.

When we talk about osteoporosis I imagine a frail old dear, maybe with a dowagers hump, but certainly underweight and looking fragile too. I never considered that an active 60+ woman such as myself could be harbouring this condition. Look at me - I run, I beetle about wherever I go, I spend most of my day at work dashing up and down the stairs - I thought I was fit as a flea, fit as a butcher's dog, however you want to say it. 

The combination of a calcium poor diet, being post-menopausal, as well as being over 60 have compromised my health picture, but it's not irreversible. I've been prescribed supplements (a stronger dose than the ones I've been buying over the counter) and then I'll have another bone scan in a couple of years time to see if the five year recovery plan is working. So, it's not a big deal. But I wanted to share my news with you in case you too are living under the illusion that you're healthy just because you look fit and are well. If you too are lacking in calcium in your diet along with the other contributing factors like me, then it might be worth chatting to your GP to see what they think. I'm currently reading up about bone health on the Royal Osteoporosis Society website which is teeming with information.

The final part of the health jigsaw is for me to include more weight bearing exercise regularly. So lots more of me running (not necessarily along the beach), getting my yoga mat out again and using my gym membership to lift some free weights would all go a long way to rebuilding the strength of my bones. Perhaps giving the bike a rest too in favour of walking briskly to and from the beach might be an easy way to incorporate exercise into my daily life. Seemingly we lay down the foundation for strong healthy bones in our 20's, but that's not the end of it. Our bones are constantly breaking down and rebuilding as we age: we can always work to strengthen our bone density, so don't wait until you're my age - address it now, before it becomes a problem.

                                                                                    Anna x

Created by bo design