The human body is a remarkable organism that performs a variety of functions to keep us alive, healthy and thriving. Bones are one of the most essential body parts because they provide structure, support and protection for our bodies. The human skeleton is made up of 206 bones; however, these bones are highly specialized to help us move, feel and stay balanced as we walk, run or lift heavy objects. An adult’s skeleton accounts for about 15 percent of their total body weight, with men having a higher bone density than women due to their larger muscle mass. While your bones might appear static and unchanging, they are constantly renewing themselves through a process known as bone maintenance. Bone health is an important topic because the risk of developing osteoporosis increases as you get older. However, there are many things you can do today to protect your bones tomorrow. Here are 8 ways you can keep your bones strong and healthy:
Stay active and exercise regularly
Regular exercise can help slow the loss of bone density, especially when it is performed at a high intensity. Certain types of activities, such as running, have been associated with an increased risk of bone loss. This is because running involves repetitive motion, which puts stress on your joints and bones. People who are healthy and have no underlying conditions related to bone loss can protect their bones with regular exercise. Exercises that have been shown to be highly beneficial include strength training, yoga, Pilates and weight lifting.
Eat a well-balanced diet
Bones are living tissues that require oxygen, calcium and other nutrients to maintain their health. Calcium is an important mineral when it comes to bone health because it helps maintain the strength and integrity of your bones. Vitamin D and magnesium are also essential for healthy bones because they support the absorption of calcium. While dairy products are often promoted as a calcium-rich food that can protect your bones, they may not be the best option for everyone. If you are lactose intolerant or have a dairy allergy, you can still meet your calcium needs with a well-balanced diet that includes leafy green vegetables, sesame seeds, dried figs and almonds. You can also supplement with products such as Quercetin in order to meet your daily nuritional needs.
Get enough sunlight each day
Vitamin D is a crucial nutrient for healthy bones because it supports the absorption of calcium. Vitamin D is most commonly obtained from fortified dairy products or supplements. However, one of the best sources of this essential nutrient is sunlight. In fact, your skin is able to naturally produce vitamin D when it is exposed to sunlight, which means that you don’t need to eat foods with vitamin D or take supplements to meet your daily requirements.
Watch your calcium intake
While calcium is extremely important for bone health, research has shown that taking excessive amounts of calcium may not be helpful because it can lead to kidney stones and gastrointestinal issues. Experts recommend taking no more than 1,500 milligrams of calcium per day and suggest that you get at least half of your daily calcium intake from your diet.
Maintain a healthy weight
Obesity has been linked to an increased risk of osteoporosis because it puts added stress on your joints and bones. Excess weight can cause your bones to break down at a faster rate than normal, which can lead to osteoporosis. Not only can maintaining a healthy weight help you avoid harmful joint conditions such as arthritis, it can also help keep your bones healthy and strong by reducing the amount of excess stress on your body.
Smoking cigarettes has been associated with an increased risk of developing osteoporosis and other bone-related illnesses. Smoking can negatively impact your bones by increasing the amount of calcium that is lost through your urine. This can lead to serious health problems if it isn’t corrected.
Check in with your doctor regularly
If you are a middle-aged woman or older and are concerned about your bone health, you should consult with your doctor. Your doctor may recommend certain lifestyle changes — such as increasing your calcium intake or limiting your caffeine intake — to protect your bones. They may also recommend taking vitamin D supplements. Your doctor may also prescribe medication to treat osteoporosis and strengthen your bones. If you are concerned about your bone health and notice symptoms of osteoporosis, speak with your doctor right away. Your doctor can conduct a simple test to assess your risk of developing osteoporosis and help you develop a treatment plan.
Bones are essential for life, and keeping them healthy is crucial for living a long, happy life. Healthy bones are strong and can withstand many daily activities that could otherwise cause injury or pain. With the right diet and exercise routine, you can help keep your bones strong so you can live longer and feel better.