Ah, life. As the clock ticks away and we watch the seasons quickly turn, we age. It’s a given in a universe governed by father time. Some of us age rapidly because of poor choices we make (smoking, excessive drinking), and some of us age more slowly because we want to remain as young as possible for as long as possible. However, until we finally discover that elusive fountain-of-youth, we have to devise plans to address aging in very strategic ways. Of primary concern in this article is bone health.
I hope these tips can help you cope with, and develop a resistance to, life’s occasional nasty living demands.
Get Your Calcium (and Other Good Stuff)
Calcium is very important during our entire life. Getting it from food is generally better than relying on pills because you get it in a biologically proper form, and you generally absorb more of it. Try to get that calcium in your body at an early age as possible and keep it there. Milk and milk products are known for calcium content, as are many dark green colored vegetables.
And while you’re at it, make sure you get plenty of magnesium, plus a healthy dose of phosphorous. Those minerals are generally found along with calcium in calcium-rich foods. Taking supplemental mineral complexes can provide a safety net if you feel your diet is lacking in these important bone-building minerals.
Tip of the Day: Best Foods For Healthy Bones. Click this link to read about more strong bone health foods.
The Sunshine Vitamin
Vitamin D helps calcium to flow through the bloodstream. As young kids playing, we naturally spent a lot of time in the sun (remember hitting the swimming pool or beach for hours at a time during the summer?). It was easy then to get enough sun to stimulate the body’s natural Vitamin D production.
As we get older, we have a tendency to stay out of the sun. We worry about skin cancer, wrinkles, and drying skin. Although these concerns have merit, it’s really not a good idea to try avoid all sunlight and live in caves. So, don’t sit in the house all day. Instead, try to get outside in the morning or late afternoon and get some sun with all those vitamin D rays. You could take a walk for 15-20 minutes each day in the sunshine.
Supplements can be used, but the sun is better. Sometimes you can find a formula with calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and vitamin D. Don’t spend a fortune on it, though, as it should only be used as an insurance “policy”, not a substitute for good food and sunlight.
Exercise and Other Activities
Bones require a certain amount of activity throughout our lives to prevent bone loss. Until we turn 30, the bones are in a building phase. After this age, the bones begin to disintegrate. This degeneration process can be stalled, and sometimes reversed, by exercising and staying active.
The exercise you get should be weight bearing, such as walking, hiking, or running. Weight training is also recommended. These activities are key to building bone strength, especially if you make sure your calcium and mineral uptake is reasonable. Personally, I prefer bicycling, but since it is not really weight bearing, I also make sure I lift weights to be on the safe side.
Stretching and exercise also contributes to bone health by keeping your joints in shape and hopefully from feeling stiff. The joints support muscles which in turn support and protect bones. Stiff joints lead to inactivity, which leads to bone degeneration. As with most other systems in your body, there is a synergistic effect you really need to take into account.
Things to Avoid for Better Bone Health
There’s a number of lifestyle choices you can make to help prevent bone loss and disintegration. Tobacco is a no-no, and alcohol should be limited (two drinks per day max). Certain prescription drugs can contribute to bone loss, so talk with your physician about the risk of any medications you take.
Watch your weight. Extremely low body mass and extra bodyfat are both contraindicated for good bone health. If your thyroid hormones are out of whack (too high or too low) it can be problematic, and you should be aware of any osteoporosis issues in your family history.
Keeping bones strong is something to be very concerned about as we age. As the bones weaken, the muscles and joints will also degenerate. Injures can then lead to arthritis, osteoporosis and so on. Falling is one of the leading reasons of bone breakage or fractures, especially in an aging population.
Unfortunately, young people don’t realize the importance of taking care of their bones. As these adolescents pass puberty, however, their bone health starts to decline. Once a person reaches middle age, the bones start to deteriorate, which puts you at high risk of fractures, disease and breakage. Hip fractures may sound like a minor ordeal, yet the truth is hip fractures are responsible for some deaths.
The good news is that it is never too late to work on improving your bone health. Following these simple tips can help you age gracefully and with dignity.
- Ed Blonz: Steroids can affect bone health(mercurynews.com)
- Bone density and health(kfor.com)
- 5 Bone Health Mistakes That Could Result in Disability or Death(liveinthenow.com)
Does your child get enough exercise? You can get your children more active with these 5 fun parenting tips.
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