Your bones act as the structure for your body. They form the foundation for your joints and protect your brain, heart, and other internal organs. Muscles anchor to bones, and bones release minerals, particularly calcium, into your body for cells to use.
Pay attention to the health of your bones your entire life, especially as you get older and are more likely to develop osteoporosis. Both men and women can develop this disease that means you’re losing too much bone, making too little bone, or both. Your bones become weak and vulnerable to breaks as a result. Falls and minor bumps or even a sneeze can cause brittle, osteoporotic bones to break and cause major disability.
About 54 million people in the U.S. have osteoporosis or are at significant risk of the condition. One in two women and up to one in four men are likely to break a bone due to osteoporosis. Painful fractures can limit your mobility and foster depression due to isolation and limitations.
How can you keep your bones strong and healthy, so you don’t suffer a severe break that poses risk to your physical and mental health? You know why you want strong bones, read on to learn how you can maintain them.
Follow a smart diet
A healthy, balanced diet significantly reduces your risk of bone loss and osteoporosis. Focus on eating high-quality, whole foods that provide ample vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Nutrients to pay particular attention to are vitamin D and calcium. Vitamin D is found in fortified milk and yogurt, but is most readily synthesized by your own body through sun exposure. In many parts of the country, however, seasonal changes make getting enough sunlight quite difficult. Plus, you lose the ability to synthesize vitamin D as you age, leaving you at risk of a deficiency. At Abundant Life Healthcare, we can offer high-powered supplements if you have low levels to boost your bone health.
Calcium is found in dairy products as well as fortified juices and alternative milks. Leafy greens, canned fish with the bones, and tofu are non-dairy sources. You need about 1,000 milligrams daily prior to menopause and 1,200 milligrams a day once you’re post-menopausal.
Other important nutrients for bone health include vitamin B12, vitamin C, and magnesium. You can ensure you get enough of these and other important nutrients by eating lean protein, fresh vegetables and fruits, low-fat dairy, whole grains and unsaturated fats. You’ll also want to stick to a moderate alcohol intake, if you choose to drink, and quit smoking to promote bone health.
Your bones benefit from an active lifestyle, especially one that includes weight-bearing moves. When you use resistance for strength training or walk, the bones attached your muscles experience stress and build up in response.
Bodyweight exercises such as squats and push-ups are a good start. If you’re able to use dumbbells, weight machines, or resistance tubing, these work well, too.
Walking, hiking, dancing, elliptical machines, and stair climbing machines are good options to strengthen your bones and your heart. If you’ve broken a bone due to osteoporosis, we may recommend you stick to low-impact activities.
Ask us to test your bone density.
Many people who have osteopenia (a precursor to osteoporosis) and osteoporosis don’t even realize it. If you’re older than 50, schedule a bone density test by calling our office. If you do have reduced bone density, you can start treatments right away to prevent serious complications.
We here at Abundant Life Healthcare want you to maintain your best possible health. Bone strength is part of this. Call or book a consult using this website to learn how you can prevent osteoporosis and maintain optimal bone health.