Don’t Sacrifice Your Bone Health
Our bones are living metabolic tissue. Here are some proven ways to keep your bones strong and healthy -
Bones respond to intensity, meaning weight lifting and increased loading are ideal triggers that send the message to your bones to begin fortifying themselves. Older bones respond to the same training signal, as seen in older-aged endurance runners, who have less bone density than their peers who practice sprinting, and senior athletes who engage in high-impact activity. An added benefit is that improved strength and balance helps prevent falls in those who already have osteoporosis. With regard to changes in bone density, exercise is site specific, so only the bones you subject to stress will respond.
Protein intake increases calcium absorption, and research has shown that bone health is linked to lean muscle mass, activity levels, and physical strength, the average protein intake is inadequate for optimal bone health especially among older adults. Also, more concern should be focused on increasing fruit and vegetable intake rather than reducing protein sources. Animal protein protects and strengthens bones and you should make sure to eat enough of it in an effort to preserve or building bone health.
Here’s yet another reason to lose the cigarettes - studies have shown smoking can prevent the body from efficiently absorbing calcium, thereby decreasing bone mass. Studies have shown a direct relationship between tobacco use and decreased bone density, although it’s hard to determine whether a decrease in bone density is due to smoking itself or to other risk factors common among smokers.
Eat Food Rich in Calcium and Vitamin D
Calcium is essential for the development of teeth and bones, and a huge catalyst for proper muscle function, nerve signaling, hormone secretion, and blood pressure. Good sources of calcium include dairy products, dark green, leafy vegetables and calcium-fortified foods and beverages. Supplements can help ensure that you get adequate amounts of calcium each day, especially if you have a milk allergy. The Institute of Medicine recommends a daily calcium intake of 1,000 mg for men and women up to age 50. Women over age 50 and men over age 70 should increase their intake to 1,200 mg daily. Vitamin D plays an important role in calcium absorption and bone health. Food sources of vitamin D include egg yolks, saltwater fish, and liver. Many people, especially those who are older, may need vitamin D supplements to achieve the recommended intake of 600 to 800 IU daily.
Get Good Sleep
We’ve heard it so many times: Sleep is important!
But in older folks, less sleep leads to risk of greater bone loss and more sleep protects against it. Melatonin, the hormone that induces sleepiness at night, plays a huge role in bone metabolism. So optimizing sleep and circadian rhythm is a good idea. Either way, lack or excess of sleep is probably an indication that bone health may be compromised.