The Key to Staying Young Could be in Your Bones
Healthy Habits for Better Health
When it comes to improving our health, the first thing most of us think about is our diets, exercise habits, and whether we’re getting enough sleep. But what if we should also be paying attention to our bone health?
The reality is, our bones play a very important role in our overall health & wellness. Think about it, our bones make up the framework of our skeletal system that provides our bodies with structure. Without them, we would closely resemble a jellyfish. But bones also protect our organs, store the calcium we need, and anchor our muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
Why is Bone Health Important?
Throughout our lifetime our bones are consistently changing. When we’re young, our bone mass strengthens but as we reach the age of about thirty, our bone mass starts to break down faster than new bone is made, making us vulnerable to weak bones and causes them to become thin and brittle.
As we age, we become more vulnerable to falls, which can lead to a variety of additional injuries, some of which can be life-threatening. But there is good news. We can be proactive in strengthening our bones, and it’s not hard to do!
Creating a Plan for Bone Health
When it comes to bone health, we all want to ensure we are doing everything we can to strengthen our bones for the long haul. Stronger bones mean we will continue to live an active lifestyle, even as we age.
► Check your family history. Depending on your family history, it’s a good idea to see your health professional and discuss whether you should get a bone density test. The test can help identify any potential issues and give you and your doctor a heads up on what you will need to do.
► Eat a diet rich in nutrients. According to Kathleen Zelman, RD, the director of nutrition for WebMD, “a healthy diet can significantly reduce the risk of bone loss.” Adding, “And it’s never too late to start.”
► Increase calcium. When we think about bone health, we automatically think about calcium, but the key may not just be about getting enough, but also how much you are able to absorb. Once you know how much you need, which for most adults is about 1000 mg a day, you’ll want to add vitamin D, as it helps the body to absorb calcium.
► Get enough vitamin D. Yes, you need vitamin D to absorb calcium, but most of aren’t getting enough which isn’t helpful for keeping bones strong. Although we get vitamin D naturally from the sun, you still may need a supplement, especially if you spend a lot of time indoors or live in a climate where sunlight is limited. Calcium and vitamin D work together, so if you do nothing else, make sure to get the right amounts of them.
► Include additional nutrients to help strengthen bones. Katherine Tucker, RD, Ph.D., and chair of the department of health sciences at Northeastern University states, “we now know that many nutrients are essential in maintaining bone.” Stating that it’s important to include vitamin B12, magnesium, vitamin C, and protein to our diets, as well as a variety of other nutrients if we want to ensure strong bones as we age.
► Get moving. We all know that exercise is vital for good health, but it turns out it’s also great for bone health too. The best exercises are weight bearing and include walking, running, climbing stairs, skiing and lifting weights. By adopting a regular workout routine, you’ll benefit in increasing strength and balance as well, which decreases the chance of a fall.
► Ditch unhealthy habits. If you smoke, quit. If you drink too much alcohol, cut down. If you consume processed foods, switch to whole, natural foods. If you drink too much soda or caffeinated beverages, switch to water or Selzer. Not only will you improve bone health, but you will look and feel better too, improving every area of your health.
Health bones are vital for a healthy life and we all deserve to have one. Getting started with the tips here will help to improve not only bone health, although that is vital, it will also help you to improve your overall health, allowing you to live your best life. And who knows where that can take you?
Maria Pease, Health & Wellness Writer
Maria Pease is a freelance health & wellness content writer based in Southport, North Carolina. She has written about health & wellness for more than twenty-five years and has partnered with a variety of companies doing the most amazing work. She loves being able to write about health topics that can change lives for the better.