Invest in your Bones
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We are always planning ahead, whether is for the next birthday, a new car or retirement. Today I ask you to shift that focus towards planning ahead for your health, specifically for your bone health.
Just like the skeletons we use to scare kids during Halloween, we tend to think of our bones as lifeless and motionless. However, our bones are very much alive. They are constantly changing, from the moment we are born until the moment we leave this world. They are made up of three main materials: collagen (a protein that gives our bones flexibility), calcium-phosphate mineral complexes (which make bones hard and strong), and living bone cells (which remove old bone cells and create new bone cells).
In childhood and adolescence, there is more bone formation taking place than bone loss, providing us with a better chance of increasing our bone density. Our peak bone mass happens between the ages of 18-25. The more bone mass you get, the less likely it is that you could break a bone as you get older or develop osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis, also known as the disease of porous bones, happens either when you lose too much bone, make too little bone, or both at the same time. Now, although our rate of bone-making decreases with age, we can still improve the strength of our bones at any age.
What can help us to get stronger bones?Resistance exercise – Weight-bearing exercise (muscles and bones working against gravity) such as walking, jogging, tennis and climbing stairs, can make your bones stronger and prevent future loss. It is recommended that adults exercise for at least 30 minutes a day and children for 60 minutes a day.
Calcium-rich foods – Calcium helps to make bones stronger. Good sources are dairy products, almonds, broccoli, kale, canned salmon with bones, sardines, and soy products (tofu).
Vitamin D rich foods – Vitamin D helps with calcium absorption. Good sources include oily fish (tuna, sardines), egg yolks and fortified milk. Sunlight also contributes to the production of vitamin D in your body.
Avoiding Substance Abuse – Cigarettes contribute to weak bones, and alcohol interferes with the body’s ability to absorb calcium. Avoid smoking and having more than 2 alcoholic drinks a day for bone health.
So today, continue to plan ahead, just make sure that your bone health is an important part of that planning.