After age 25, natural bone growth begins to decline and will drop throughout your adult years. For many middle-age and older adults, poor bone health is a real concern, as it can lead to bone fractures, and affect your mobility.
Everyone is at risk of developing weak bones, called osteopenia, or, in its more severe form, osteoporosis, although women and people over 50 years old should take extra care to keep their bones healthy. Here are three easy ways to strengthen your bones.
1. STOP SMOKING
There is a straight connection between tobacco use and low bone density. Smoking weakens your bones. To make matters worse, people who smoke are likely to have lifestyle behaviors that are also contributors to poor bone health, such as excessive alcohol use and diets deficient in vital nutrients. For all these reasons, if you smoke, you are at risk for developing osteoporosis.
2. EAT A HEALTHY DIET RICH IN CALCIUM AND VITAMIN D
Calcium is a fundamental element in your bones. It is vital that you feed your bones continually with a calcium rich diet. Dairy products, such as low-fat milk, yogurt and cheese and leafy greens are rich in calcium and should be included in your daily diet.
Equally important to your bone health is Vitamin D because it aids in the absorption of calcium into your body. Fortified milk, salmon and other fish, eggs, and mushrooms are all great sources of Vitamin D.
While Calcium and Vitamin D are both available in supplement form, supplements should be reserved as a second line of defense, after an overall healthy diet that includes Vitamin D and Calcium rich foods.
Both men and women can strengthen their bones through exercise. Exercise promotes coordination, and balance which prevents falls and broken bones. Also, exercise builds overall muscle strength, which enhances the support and protection to your skeletal system. The older you are, the more important this prevention is to your health.
Choose weight bearing exercises because they require you to work against gravity. Vigorous walking, weight training, and climbing stairs are all excellent forms of exercise to keep your bones healthy and strong.
If you have difficulty finding time to exercise, look for ways that you can build weight bearing activity into your day. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, get up every hour and take a quick walk around your building, or go out dancing instead of to the movies. The more active you are, the healthier your bones are.
Everyone can develop weak bones, but there are easy ways to prevent it from happening or to improve your bone strength. Start with these smart tips to keep your bones healthy throughout your life.