Keeping our bones healthy and strong is an essential part of maintaining good health and mobility, especially as we age.
Bones are living tissue that can regenerate which is how broken bones can heal over time. With over 200 bones in the human body, their function is not only to provide structural support, they also protect internal organs, enable movement, and store minerals like calcium and phosphorous to be released into the body when needed.
Bones continuously change throughout your lifetime but peak bone mass is reached by the time we turn 30. Then your body tends to begin to lose bone density, over time this leads to bone loss. This can be especially problematic for postmenopausal women due to hormonal changes. A few other factors related to bone health include a low activity level, tobacco or alcohol use, a petite body frame, family history, and the use of some medications. OSTEOPOROSIS meaning ’porous bones’ is a progressive condition and increases the risk of fractures as the bone structure becomes weaker.
OSTEOPENIA is a precursor of sorts because it means having low bone mass. This may progress to osteoporosis but it’s not inevitable with lifestyle and prevention strategies. Your health care provider can order bone density screenings and discuss options if you are at risk.
EXERCISE & LIFESTYLE Like muscle, bone is living tissue that can become stronger with regular use—or weaker if you’re sedentary. The exercises for healthy bones involve putting a little stress on them. This will prompt your bones to add mass in response. Strength training with weight bearing activities are great for bone building. Active walking is also considered weight bearing since your subjecting your bones to stress as you stride. Climbing stairs and low-impact aerobics or sport-like activities are also great options.
Dietary and lifestyle considerations include getting enough calcium and vitamin D in your diet and limiting alcohol consumption, and eliminating tobacco products.
Ask your healthcare provider if you should consider nutrition supplements to be sure you are getting what your body needs
. Need help getting started or balancing out your activities to keep your bones (and muscles) strong, contact susand@jccnh. org for a free wellness consultation