Bone Health: How to Strengthen and Protect Your Bones
When was the last time you thought about your bone health? If you’re like most people, the answer is probably never. That’s because our bones feel solid and healthy. Why worry about something that seems strong? Unfortunately, the reality is that you’re probably losing bone strength and don’t even realize it.
The inside of your bones is filled with holes that are like a honeycomb, and the tissues in your bone break down and are rebuilt all the time. Some cells build new bone tissue, but others dissolve bone and release the minerals inside. The problem is that as you get older, you start to lose more bone than your body builds. Those tiny holes inside your bones get bigger and the solid outer layer gets thinner.
Over time, your bones become less dense and turn spongier and spongier. If you lose too much bone density, you’ll get osteoporosis, which means there is more bone decay than growth in your body. Over 10 million people in the United States have osteoporosis, which means their bones are more likely to break from simple falls.
4 Easy Ways to Improve Your Bone Health
You can strengthen and protect your bones and lower your risk of osteoporosis by making simple lifestyle changes. Following are four ways to get started:
Calcium is a mineral that helps your bones stay strong. You can get calcium from the foods you eat or by taking supplements. The Institute of Medicine recommends that you get a specific daily allowance for calcium from food and supplements:
- Ages 9-10: 1,300 mg
- Ages 19-50: 1,000 mg
- Men Ages 51-70: 1,000 mg
- Women Ages 51-70: 1,200 mg
- Ages 70 and Above: 1,200 mg
You can get calcium from milk, yogurt, cheese, and dark leafy green vegetables like collard greens and kale. Keep in mind, to increase absorption from calcium supplements, you should take no more than 600 mg at a time, but always check with your doctor first.
2. Vitamin D
Vitamin D helps your body absorb and use calcium, so it’s important to get your daily allowance of both vitamin D and calcium to strengthen and protect your bone health. Vitamin D is made by your skin when you’re in the sun, and your body needs more of it as you grow older. Talk to your doctor to make sure you’re getting an adequate amount of vitamin D every day.
There are also a number of foods that contain vitamin D, including milk, saltwater fish, egg yolks, liver, and fortified milks and cereals. Another option is taking a vitamin D supplement. Supplements and diet are particularly important for people who live in the northern part of the United States where the sun is not intense enough for the body to build up enough vitamin D during the winter months.
Exercise helps strengthen and protect your bones, especially weight-bearing exercise like walking, jogging, dancing, and tennis. When your muscles pull on your bones, the cells in your bones are reminded to keep the tissue dense.
4. Don’t Smoke or Drink Heavily
Both smoking and heavy drinking weaken your bones, so if you smoke or you’re a heavy drinker, stop. To determine if alcohol is a problem for you, answer four questions here, and to learn more about quitting smoking, go here.
Your Next Steps to Strengthen and Protect Your Bones
Even if you’ve already been diagnosed with osteoporosis, it’s not too late to start taking care of your bones. Since your bones rebuild themselves all the time, you can push the balance toward more bone growth than loss by giving them the exercise, calcium, and vitamin D they need.
A certified health coach from Wellbeing Coaches can help you develop a diet, fitness, and lifestyle program to reduce your risk of osteoporosis or tip the balance in favor of bone density if you already have osteoporosis.
Keep in mind, having family members with osteoporosis can raise your risk for osteoporosis as can certain drugs. Don’t assume your bones are strong simply because they feel solid because the insides of your bones could tell a very different story.
To start working with a health coach to improve your bone health, schedule a FREE 15-minute Talk to a Coach session now!
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All information contained on this website are for informational and educational purposes only, and is not intended to be taken as medical or other health advice. You should always seek the advice of your doctor or a qualified medical professional. IN THE CASE OF A MEDICAL EMERGENCY OR SUICIDAL THOUGHTS, IMMEDIATELY CALL 911.
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