John Lennon once said, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” And isn’t that the truth. After completing my first marathon I knew something was wrong when I couldn’t move my leg. Luckily, I have a strong father to help carry me to the ER and I was diagnosed with a stress fracture. A clean break through the neck of my femur. I thought that I had my summer planned out: graduate with my Masters, run my first marathon, hike through Colorado, and enjoy what life has to offer. However, crutching through life post college is not what I had in mind!
Luckily, I recently broke up with my crutches and not slowing down. However, this really made me think- maybe I am not invincible! Being a Div 1 athlete has taken a tole on my mind, body, and bones. Therefore, it was time to get serious on bone health & stress fracture prevention:
- Ensure you are eating enough to accommodate your increased energy expenditure. Almost a given, but very important to remember. When you increase your running, biking, weight lifting, etc you have to ensure you are eating enough. Especially carbohydrates– what helps your muscles have enough energy and helps speed up recovery! On the contrary, if you are increasing your energy and not fulfilling your calorie needs, your bones may take a hit. Therefore, don’t skip your post-workout snack! For bones store vitamins & minerals in order for your body to conduct its daily functions.
- Eat a variety! Just because one works out does not give them the free pass to eat what they want. A diet with a wide variety is important. Healthy fats are needed to stop inflammation, protein to build & repair muscle, and carbohydrates for energy and speedy recovery. I believe dietitians state this a lot- because it is important! The more variety you have, the more likely you will not deprive yourself of much needed vitamins and minerals.
- Calcium & Vitamin D!!!! To ensure optimal bone health, calcium & vitamin D are a must for weight bearing activity. One thing that I will always remember from my undergrad classes at Penn State was when my professor stated, “The most stable thing about someone is their blood calcium levels.” Therefore, when you are not eating enough calcium rich foods, your bones can use it’s stored calcium for the body’s function and demineralize your bones. The equation for strong bones is having 3-4 servings of calcium rich foods, get some sunshine (Vitamin D), participate in weight baring activity, and if you know you have a deficiency consult with a RD before you take a supplement. For nobody should spend beautiful days suffering from an injury.
Injuries can be caused by a mixture of things: uncontrolled amenorrhea, not respecting rest, fluctuating weight, training too high of intensity, or just bad luck! However, it is important to ensure you are paying attention to your nutrition- a helpful tool in staying healthy!
Hip Hip Hooray No More Crutches!