Practising healthy lifestyle habits is the best way to maintain the strength of your bones. Bone health is crucial for maintaining body functionality. As we age, our bone mass, or density, decreases. As a result, the bones lose calcium and other minerals and become brittle, resulting in breaks and fractures. Whether you are young and still developing your bone structure or older and trying to preserve it, these simple steps can help keep your bones healthy and strong.
Make Healthy Food Choices
Your bones need a variety of nutrients, including calcium and vitamins, C, D and K. Low-fat dairy products are well-known sources of calcium, and many are fortified with vitamin D. Fruits and vegetables are the best way to get important vitamins and minerals. You’ll get calcium and vitamin K from broccoli, spinach and cabbage. Vitamin C is high in red and green bell peppers, strawberries, sprouts, oranges and pineapples.
Smoking cigarettes is one of the worst things you can do for your health and your bones. Several studies have shown that smokers have lower bone mass and a higher risk of fractures than nonsmokers, and the risk increases with the number of years and cigarettes one smokes, according to the National Institute of Health. Compared to non-smokers, women who smoke often produce less oestrogen and tend to experience menopause earlier, which may lead to increased bone loss.
Moderate Alcohol and Soda Intake
If you drink alcohol, stick to no more than one drink a day, or up to seven a week for women, and no more than two a day, or up to 10 a week for men. Consuming more than two alcoholic drinks per day raises the risk of bone loss. Research has also linked heavy cola consumption with lower bone density. You can substitute milk or calcium-fortified juice for soft drinks when possible.
Exercise and Maintain a Healthy Body Weight
Being too heavy or too thin are risk factors for osteoporosis. Along with healthy eating, exercise is a key part of osteoporosis prevention and treatment. Like muscles, bones become stronger when they are active. Weight-bearing exercise strengthens bones by making them produce more cells. The best exercises for building stronger bones include brisk walking, dancing or aerobics, and muscle strengthening exercises. But, it is important to warm up properly before engaging in exercise as it is important with regards to your knees.
Spend Some Time in the Sun
Your skin makes vitamin D in response to sunlight exposure, and your body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium and build healthy bones. Depending on where you live and your skin pigmentation, you may get enough by spending as little as five to 30 minutes in the sunlight a couple of times a week.
Review Your Medications
The medications you take can negatively affect your bones. They weaken bones by decreasing the amount of calcium absorbed in the intestines and increasing the amount excreted by the kidneys. One way to minimize the risk of bone damage is to take the lowest dose for the shortest time possible to decrease inflammation.
Bones play many roles in the body — providing structure, protecting organs, anchoring muscles and storing calcium. While it’s important to build strong and healthy bones during childhood and adolescence, you can take these steps during adulthood to protect bone health, too.