Our bones are vital body parts. Without our skeleton, we’d probably just be organic mush pooling on the ground.
The trouble is, as we age, our bones become weaker and more fragile, putting us at greater risk for fractures and breaks. Likewise, when we do sustain these injuries, recovery time becomes much longer the older we are. That’s why it’s so important to keep our bones strong and healthy.
You may have heard calcium is good for bones, but there are a number of other ways to improve your bone health. Here are 5 tips for stronger bones – they’re easy enough that you can start today.
Exercise is important – that much we know. It improves heart function, it keeps us energized, and basically our whole body needs some form of exercise, bones included.
Bones especially require activity to build them up. You might have thought that putting stress on your bones would sign you up for injury, but in truth it’s quite the opposite. Every time we perform exercise which puts stress on our bones – think jogging – new cells are created to build up bone density.
Lifting weights, resistance training, balance training and cardio are all good forms of exercise to strengthen your bones. As long as you have the OK from your doctor to do these types of activities, create a plan which incorporates all forms of exercise throughout the week. Variety helps, too, so do power walking one day and yoga another, for example, to keep your muscles challenged.
2 Cut back on the java
Coffee may be great for your heart and brain but sadly not for your bones. Studies have shown that drinking more than two cups of coffee a day can accelerate bone loss. That’s because caffeine blocks the body’s ability to absorb calcium. Research has shown that caffeine also negatively impacts vitamin D – also essential for bone health.
So if you want to protect your bones, lay low on the caffeine for your daily boost. Take a fresh-air break instead!
3 Know your family history
A simple and easy way to get an idea of your bone health is to check your family history. Genetics does play a role in bone health, so knowing what your relatives in the past experienced may be an indicator if you are at risk for any bone-related issues.
The Mayo Clinic reports that you are at greater risk for poor bone health if you’re white or Asian. Also, if you had a parent or sibling who developed osteoporosis – the disease characterized by low bone mass and deterioration of bone tissue – the chances of you getting it are quite high. The next time you’re at a family function, don’t hesitate to ask around about your loved ones’ bone health. It’s better to be in the know.
4 Check your medications
Some medications used to treat one ailment can cause an unwanted side effect elsewhere; in this case, some medications can harm our bones. The Mayo Clinic reports prescriptions such as prednisone, cortisone, prednisolone and dexamethasone can all damage our bones.
There are also other drugs which increase our risks of developing osteoporosis. These include some treatments for breast cancer, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, methotrexate, some anti-seizure medications and proton pump inhibitors. If you’re on any of these medications, speak with your doctor if you have concerns about your bone health. But never stop a medication without doctor direction.
5 Be happy
Sometimes easier said than done, our mood and mental health play a role in our bone health, so staying positive is key. Studies have shown that women with depression are more likely to have a lower bone density compared to those who do have depression. Depression creates higher levels of cortisol which, in turn, breaks down our bones.
Combatting stress and anxiety becomes crucial to protect our bones. Exercise, once again, improves bone health. It strengthens our bones and improves our mood, which also has a positive effect on bone health. Balance out exercise with relaxation, and eat lots of stress-friendly foods for more easy ways to improve mood and improve bones.
So there you have it: These 5 natural and effective ways will help to improve your bone health today for a stronger you tomorrow. Get started today!
If you’re concerned about your bones and want to avoid fractures and breaks, take on these bone-strengthening habits and walk tall.
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