It’s never too late to worry about your bones. When all is said and done, these are the components of your body which keep you upright, capable of holding your head high, and performing the widest range of activities every day.
For some reason, bone health is one of the most ignored aspects of human health. Most people don’t know what to do. Worse still, a vast majority doesn’t know when the ideal time to focus on bone health is. Contrary to popular belief, old age isn’t the right time to begin. Concern for bone health should begin way before that!
The truth is; bone health will decline with age. The process is more pronounced in women as compared to men due to natural biological processes. However, a little care can go a long way in preventing old age fractures and accompanying pain.
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Men versus Women – Who Needs More Care?
A woman, entrusted with the job of procreation and rearing the little ones, is more prone to bone issues. As she reaches the age of menopause and goes through this ugly phase, the changes occurring in her body favor the degradation of bones.
This is one major reason postmenopausal women are at a higher risk of osteoporosis, a condition characterized by loss of tissue in bones, making them brittle and fragile. It may be triggered by conditions other than hormonal changes as well such as the lack of calcium and Vitamin D.
This doesn’t mean men need not worry about bone problems. Their lifestyles and work conditions can put them at a higher risk of another wide range of functional problems ranging from cervical spondylosis to carpal tunnel syndrome and more.
The importance of bone health can’t be adequately emphasized. According to research, certain interventions can significantly reduce the possibility of old age fractures.
This brings us back to where we started from – how to take care of your bones and keep them strong. Here are seven things you can do in this regard.
7 Things to Do
Calcium and Vitamin D (Among Other Nutrients)
There’s no news here. You need to create a special place for calcium and vitamin D rich foods in your diet. These are the two basic components (or building blocks) of bone health. If this isn’t reason enough, consider this: they’re not only important in themselves but also help your body in absorbing other essential nutrients like Potassium, Vitamin K, and Magnesium.
You should consume at least 1-2 glasses of milk daily. The second and third best thing after milk is yogurt and cheese. For Vitamin D, spending 20-30 minutes in the sun first thing in the morning can also help. Your skin can naturally produce Vitamin D if exposed to the sun.
Other sources of Calcium and Vitamin D include Salmon and Sardines, fresh orange juice, soy and rice beverages, butter, and eggs. You can experiment around a little as well.
Eat Well, Include Supplements
Eating healthy is important, period. It’s not helping just one system of your body but having an overall effect. From keeping your guts happy to giving that naturally glowing skin and from promoting heart health to preventing bone-related problems; the food you eat plays an important role everywhere.
Ideally, even if you’re eating well and making a conscious effort at it, adding a few supplements to your daily routine is a good practice. This simply means even if you’re lacking in some places, your body can retrieve the nutrients and achieve optimal performance.
Healthy bones are linked to healthy muscles as well. Exercise doesn’t just condition the muscles for longevity, it also makes sure the joints and ligaments are in good shape, contributing towards overall health.
Cardio exercises or weight lifting are both known to work wonders for the body inside out. But if you’re one of those who can’t sweat it out in the gym, the next best thing you can do is indulge in some outdoor activities like walking, running, jogging, cycling, hiking, and swimming. Make a habit that you can stick to; the rest will be fine.
Avoid Excessive Caffeine, Alcohol, and Soft Drinks
When it comes to bone health, there are a couple of things you should eat. And then there are things you shouldn’t.
Caffeine is linked to the loss of bone density. Research suggests that the effect is more pronounced in postmenopausal women. Likewise, soft drinks and alcohol are also linked with bone issues. There’s probably nothing wrong with an occasional drink but if you’re consuming them daily (or more than one beverage in a day), you could invite some serious trouble in the future.
There are so many reasons you shouldn’t smoke. From lung damage to psychological disorders, tobacco and nicotine are known to not help the body. If you’re concerned about your bone health, this is another reason you shouldn’t smoke.
Particularly in postmenopausal women, smoking can hasten the loss of bone tissue. In some researches, smoking has been indirectly linked with bone problems as well. If you’re already a smoker, here’s one good reason why you should think about quitting. And if you’re not already a smoker, here’s a good reason to keep yourself at a safe distance from it.
Bone health may not be as critical when you’re young and healthy but it becomes a really debilitating condition when you grow older.
Yoga and Stretching Helps
Experts agree that yoga and stretching help you get in shape and promote bone health. Yoga is particularly good for joints, conditioning them and promoting longevity. This is a good reason to become a fan of yoga. The good part is you can build a schedule around your own activities. You don’t have to follow it every day. And if you tweak your movements throughout the day, you can incorporate yoga into your daily life as well.
When everything has been said and done, it is essential for you to stay alert and be mindful of what you’re doing (and not doing) to harm your bones. Sometimes, people are genetically prone to bone problems. So no matter how many things you do right, it might not give you the results you seek because your body demands more. If you have recurring joint issues, consult your physician ASAP.
Especially for women, natural body changes can wreak havoc, particularly for your bones. Make sure you’re incorporating these external and internal factors while crafting up your regime.
If you follow these seven tips, you can at least reduce the possibility of bone issues even if you can’t eliminate them. The rest is all in your good hands. Decide wisely!
James Crook is a passionate health and fitness blogger. Currently, he is a working as a blogger for Dr. Joe Wilson, Shoulder Specialist Raleigh NC. Follow @jamescrook911 for more updates.