Being healthy goes beyond taking care of the parts of our body that’s visible, you also have to keep your bones healthy to achieve a sustainable wellness.
A part of our body that can’t be seen but also plays an important role in the bodily function is the bone.
Bones provide structure, protect organs, anchors muscles and stores calcium in the body.
Good bone health is important because as you get older, your bones are continuously changing.
They lose essential minerals, which eventually can lead to breaks. When you keep your bones healthy, you’re less likely to break them if you have a fall.
While it’s important to build strong and healthy bones during childhood and adolescence, there’s still plenty of healthy lifestyle changes that you can take to achieve strong and healthy bones as you age.
- Exercise To Keep Your Bones Healthy
Weight-bearing exercise, strength-training exercise, and balance exercise will help you build and maintain strong bones.
Weight-bearing exercises force you to work against gravity, which strengthens your bones and muscles. Examples are walking, dancing, jogging, stair climbing, gardening, and engaging in ball sports.
In strength-training exercises you use weights or stretch bands. Balance exercises such as yoga and tai chi help reduce your risk of falls.
To keep your bones healthy, you should do weight-bearing exercises for a total of 30 minutes on most days of the week, strength-training exercises for each muscle group 2 or 3 days per week, and exercises that improve your balance every day.
- Get calcium and vitamin D every day
Healthy eating and physical activity help keep your bones strong. If you don’t get adequate amounts of bone-building nutrients such as calcium and vitamin D, your bones become weaker.
Over time, consuming too little calcium and vitamin D and being inactive can result in osteoporosis (porous bones), osteopenia (low bone mass), and osteomalacia (soft bones).
Fortunately, you can keep your bones healthy throughout your lifetime by eating calcium-rich foods which include dairy products, almonds, broccoli, kale, canned salmon with bones, sardines and soy products.
The recommended dietary intake for calcium is 1,000 mg per day for most people, although teens need 1,300 mg and older women require 1,200 mg.
Vitamin D can be found in oily fish, fortified yogurts, margarine, egg yolk, milk, fortified soy and other fortified plant-based beverages. Sunlight also contributes to the body’s production of vitamin D.
- Limit alcohol and caffeine.
Having too much caffeine and alcohol circulating in your body:
• disrupts your body’s ability to balance calcium levels and produce vitamin D – two essential components in bone health.
• increases your chance of falling and breaking a bone.
Bone health is also an important part of the body’s overall health. Protecting your bone health is easier than you think.
By understanding how diet, physical activity and other lifestyle factors can affect your bone mass, you will be able to create stronger and healthier bones.