In our first few years of life, our bones are growing at an exceptional rate. They develop to allow us to crawl, walk, jump, run and everything else along the way. This continues throughout childhood and adolescence. However, many people take for granted that once we become adults our bone health begins to deteriorate. This is even more true for women. Not taking steps to ensure strong healthy bones can lead to conditions such as osteoporosis. But there are a few things you can do to help maintain and even improve your bone health for the rest of your life.
To promote bone health, you need to implement healthy nutrition and exercise habits. These can be the key to strong bones. You need to make the most of every opportunity to add strength.
By starting the right dietary and fitness strategies you can ensure you have all the right things going forward to not only improve your current bone health but prevent further deterioration and the risk of further health issues.
Calcium is the foundation of strong bones. Not only this, but calcium is also responsible for healthy teeth, the secretion of some hormones, muscle contractions and nerve signalling. Being deficient in calcium can lead to a whole host of health issues from loss of appetite to heart palpitations.
With that said, too much calcium can also cause serious issues and over supplementing with calcium should be avoided. Excess calcium can lead to kidney stones and even stroke.
Calcium Rich Foods
Calcium rich foods are the best way to ensure you get enough calcium to keep your calcium stores at an adequate level. There are many foods that are high in calcium and ensuring at least some of these into your daily diet can help you maintain the right level of calcium. Some calcium packed foods include:
Dark Leafy Greens (Broccoli, Bok Choy)
Low Fat Cheeses (Mozzarella)
Low Fat Milk and Yogurt
Soy (Tofu, seitan)
Beans (Kidney Beans, Green Snap Beans)
If you do not get enough dietary calcium one way to top up your supply is through supplementation. There are many supplements available to choose from, however, the two best absorbed by the human body are calcium carbonate and calcium citrate.
Many people don’t appreciate how important vitamin D is in regards to bone health. Vitamin D is essential for us to be able to absorb calcium. Lack of vitamin D can lead to rickets and a weakened immune system. Therefore, getting enough is imperative.
Sun Exposure and Vitamin D
The best way to get vitamin D is through exposure to the sun. Unfortunately for many people, their geographical location alone prevents them for even seeing the sun for the majority of the year. Furthermore, skin pigmentation and the use of sunscreen can also inhibit you getting enough vitamin D from the sun.
Vitamin D Rich Foods
There are a number of food that contain vitamin D however, most do not contain enough to give your recommended daily amount. Some vitamin D rich foods include:
Oily Fish (Trout, Salmon, Swordfish)
Fortified Whole Grain Cereals
Vitamin D Supplements
The best way for those who don’t get enough vitamin D through sun exposure is to take vitamin D supplements. The best option to go for is vitamin D3 supplements which have the best absorption.
The best form of exercise to optimise bone health is strength training. Working out with added weight preserve and build bone strength. Resistance training puts stress on your bones. Their response is to stimulate cells which produce new bone material. This way bone density is increased or at minimum maintained.
Adding strength training to your fitness regime is an excellent way to encourage lifelong bone health. You can work with weights or even your body weight. Jump squats, press ups and pull ups are all examples of strength training exercises which need no equipment.
If you would like to start a strength training regime, 2-3 times a week is a great idea to reap the many benefits strength training has to offer including encouraging bone health.
You can read more about the importance of strength training as well as tips and ideas where to start here
So there are your top three ways to maintain lifelong bone health. Start thinking about these healthy habits today to stay strong.