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Two Ways To Improve Your Bone Density

bone density humorRoz Warren is the author of Our Bodies, Our Shelves: A Collection of Library Humor. This piece first appeared on

I had a bone density scan at my last annual check-up and when the results came back I received 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’ and ‘The Luminaries’ just like lifting weights?”

Apparently not.

She explained to me that the walking I am doing 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. So, 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 can actually be 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. Starting with 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.

The answer?


One study on postmenopausal women concluded that when these women ate 12 prunes a day, it improved their bone density.

Another thing I can do?


Another study declared that women who jumped 20 times a day 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

Roz Warren writes for the New York Times, the Funny Times, the Christian Science Monitor, the Jewish Forward and the Huffington Post. And she‘s been featured on the Today Show. (Twice!) Her 13th humor book, ”Our Bodies, Our Shelves: A Collection Of Library Humor," is available on Amazon.

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Friday 10th of June 2016

Keep up the jumping and the prunes. The side effects from the osteoporosis drugs are not great. I finally had a base line bone density because chemotherapy treatments like to eat bones. My doctor knows I won't go on drugs but it is good to have a baseline. Too funny that being too light is not good and fair slim women are more prone to osteoporosis.


Wednesday 8th of June 2016

Jumping and prunes. My favourite combination. ;)

Connie McLeod

Wednesday 8th of June 2016

I just found out that I have osteopena. This is great news. I'll start jumping and eating prunes too. I don't have to worry about being too lean!

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