This month I had the good fortune to meet one of our very active subscribers from Melbourne, Australia. I was impressed to learn that some of their health care organizations provide support groups for special medical interests. Nice.

Today's newsletter is devoted to improving hip bone density.And next month it will be devoted to spinal osteopenia/osteoporosis.

1. Every so often I get an email from someone asking, What can I do about my hips? My dexa now shows 'normal spine' but I can not seem to increase the bone density in my hips.

I empathize with such queries because it took me much longer to improve my own hips. So here are a few things that might work. But REMEMBER, our osteoblasts [bone building cells] respond to INCREASED stress so it is better to start off doing one thing a few times then add more each month so you keep increasing the stress on the bones.

Also, if you have low bone density, do check with your health care provider before jumping, hopping etc. You do not want to fracture your femoral neck bone!

A. Walk downstairs. Walking upstairs is good aerobic activity but walking down is good for stimulating bone building. If you live in an apartment or work in a multi-level office building, get off the floor above ground and walk down. (Same for department store shopping.) After a month of doing this, get off 2 floors above ground and walk down 2 flights. (Office workers concerned about safety, recruit some friends to go with you...have your cell phone out or....)

B. Go up on your toes and then drop your heels back to the floor. (I do this while waiting online to check out my groceries since I have the cart handle to use if my balance gets off.). Start going half way up...tnen after a few weeks go higher. First month do 7-8 each time. Next month add another 4 or 5 so as to 'increase the stress on your bones' and thus continue to stimulate your osteoblasts.

C. Stamp your feet (be sure your heels get stamped and not just your toes). Start with 10 - 15 a day. Next month add 2 sessions of 10 - 15 etc. If you walk for exercise, you can add more stamping sessions all year. I often stamp my way from the car into the house or when walking my dog or in the kitchen while walking between the sink and that table.

D. Take up dancing - tap dancing, Irish clogging, polkas or anything that makes for stamping, banging your feet/heels.

E. Weights - NEVER WALK WITH WEIGHTS ON YOUR ANKLES. But if you can buy the wrap weights used in Physical therapy, there are some exercises on the web site. (This is what finally did the trick for me - I began the exercise in set a day. Next week I added a 2nd set etc. until I was doing 10 a day.) The slower you do these exercises the better.

F. Do a jumping jack - just one- each night before bed. (Again check with your health care provider about your femoral neck before doing any of these.) One a night, EVERY night. Next month do month do 3. Work up to 10 a night.

Now, do not do all these things at once. Do one for a full month, then maybe add a second. After 3 or 4 months switch to something different. Remember our bones respond to NEW stress so just doing the same thing every month for years will not stimulate new bone density. (I have had some success switching from one sort of stress on the bone to another....and then a year or so later going back to the earlier form. I have NO research to prove this works - it would cost a fortune to continue a study for years - pharmaceutical companies might might have that sort of money but few others do.)

OK, those are some hip suggestions. Of course you might want to recheck the list of foods that have been shown to be helpful....and do watch your 'over the counter drugs'. Some pain and cold remedies have as much caffeine as 3 cups of coffee!!

Enjoy October! Next month I have some useful tips for spinal osteopenia (osteoporosis).

I am in the process of switching to new computer so if you email me and do not get a reply --- know I may have lost your post in the change over. Try again.

Be well. Be happy. Take time to feed your spirit every day. And remember that stamping your feet so your heels absorb stress is a great way to burn off stress as well as stimulating your osteoblasts! (grin)