Tips For Maintaining And Improving Bone Density
Our bones, or skeletal system, play an important function – supporting our bodies, providing movement and even protecting organs. Most people reach maximum bone density by the age of 30. Over time, bones can become more fragile and brittle and this can lead to injuries like breaks or fractures and sometimes conditions like osteoporosis. Fortunately, there are many strategies to keep bones healthy and strong. Here are some recommendations.
Regular exercise has numerous benefits from regulating heart health to maintaining ideal weight and reducing stress. Weight-bearing exercise can also be very helpful for maintaining or increasing bone density. Consider adding a strength-training component to your cardio activity. It’s not necessary to lift heavy weights, repetitive resistance exercises with a light weight will benefit bone density over time as well. Consider using hand weights when you walk or try out an exercise that leverages body weight such as Tai-Chi, yoga or dance.
Increase Calcium Intake
Calcium plays an important role in body functions such as releasing hormones into the bloodstream, transferring messages through nerves, and more. Throughout a person’s lifetime, old bone is reabsorbed into the body and new bone is formed. Bone loss occurs when bone resorption exceeds new bone formation. Increasing calcium intake can aid in the development of new bone tissue. The Institute of Medicine recommends 1,000 mg of calcium per day for most adults and 1,200 mg/day for women after menopause and men over the age of 70. Consuming more calcium-rich foods such as leafy green vegetables like spinach or kale or dairy products like yogurt and milk can be beneficial for reaching the daily calcium quota. Taking a daily calcium supplement (with added vitamin D) may also be beneficial.
Seek More Vitamin D
Vitamin D doesn’t just boost immune function, it also aids in the absorption of phosphorus and that coupled with calcium can help produce stronger bones. Too much bone loss can cause aching and pain and even result in painful conditions like rickets. Just 10-15 minutes per day of unprotected exposure to the sun can boost the body’s vitamin D stores. Taking a vitamin D supplement (with added calcium) or consuming vitamin D-rich foods such as eggs, soy or fish can also help boost bone health.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Calcium and vitamin D are important nutrients for bone health, but other nutrients are important as well. Vitamins B and C and magnesium help promote healthy bones and can boost immunity. Eating a well-rounded, balanced diet that includes whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts and lean proteins and avoids overly processed foods can contribute to overall health and wellness.
Other Tips for Healthy Bones
Follow these guidelines to maintain healthy bone strength and reduce the risk of painful conditions or injury:
- If you are experiencing aching or pains in your bones, consult with your doctor immediately.
- Don’t smoke. If you are a smoker, quit.
- Avoid or reduce consumption of alcohol and caffeine.
- Review all medications with your doctor. Some medications can contribute to bone loss.
At The Maples of Towson, we take a holistic approach to health and wellness. Our varied activities and programs, delicious and nutritious meals and social connections help our residents maintain a healthy lifestyle. To learn more, contact us today to schedule a tour.