You fall down and hear a snap! Your bone just broke and you’ll have to be hospitalized for more than 3 months.
This scenario highlights the importance of bone health as we age. My name is Mitravinda Savanur, and I am a nutritionist specializing in food science. I’ve written this article as a practical guide to bone health, which will not only go over common bone ailments, but will also include actionable ideas that you can implement in your lifestyle to keep your bones healthy and strong, especially as you age.
How Bones Work
Did you know that your bones are alive?
Some new bone is made while old bone is broken down all the time. When you are relatively young and fit, your body makes bone at a quicker rate than it loses it. This leads to a steady rise in bone mass until you hit a peak at about 30. After this, the creation and loss of bone continues but the loss of bone is a little quicker than the creation and thus the overall bone mass reduces.
Osteoporosis is a condition where your bones lose their strength, become brittle and can easily snap. It develops slowly over a long period of time and hence is caused when you don’t produce enough bone or you lose bone too rapidly to be replaced or both.
The chance of your developing osteoporosis depends on the amount of bone mass you have developed by your peak and how quickly you lose it after that. If you have a lot of bone mass by 30, then the chances of your developing osteoporosis reduce considerably.
Strategies for Healthy Bones
Exercising – Helps With Bone Formation
A high or low-impact exercising regimen with weight-bearing exercises will help you create and maintain your bone density.
Weight-bearing exercises will create some good stress on your muscles which will put additional pressure on your bones. This pressure will then help you gain bone quicker than you lose it and so your bone strength will increase over time.
Some examples of high-impact exercises are-
Jogging, hiking, tennis, dancing, skipping and so on.
Some low-impact but beneficial exercises which are especially suited to older people are –
Walking, cycling, stair-step machines.
Good Diet – Creates Bone Strength
A good, balanced and nutritious diet will serve you and your bones well.
A diet which is rich in calcium, vitamin D, fruits, vegetables and milk will make your bones healthy and strong.
Along with these, avoiding excessive smoking or drinking will help a lot.
You should also include vitamin K2 in your diet as a supplement because this greatly increases bone health.
K2 has the added benefit of decalcifying your arteries.
Regular Testing – Know The Condition
Bone mineral density tests are used to measure the mineral content of bones.
The heel of the foot is usually tested for measuring the mineral density. This is because this bone is similar to the hip bone which is very prone to breaking.
Based on the tests and their results, your physician will recommend more tests or certain lifestyle changes that might be necessary for you to continue having a healthy bone health-filled life.
Physical Therapy – Preventative Measure
While there is no cure for osteoporosis, it can be prevented, it’s progressed slowed and your overall bone health can benefit from physical therapy.
For example, a therapist might help you improve your bone health by designing an exercise regimen which improves your posture, balance and stability.
Therapy will also be handy in the worst case scenario where you’ve broken a bone.
If you have osteoporosis, you can contact your doctor to see whether they think therapy can help you or not.
Research has shown that women are at a higher risk of developing osteoporosis than men.
Estimates have shown that out of the 10 million people with osteoporosis in the USA, 8 million are women.
This is mainly because of the effects of menopause where the bone protecting hormone (estrogen) levels decrease very rapidly. This can be prevented by giving healthy amounts of calcium to women when they are growing so that they will have no issues with bone density later on in life.
Mitravinda Savanur is a Nutritionist at DietChart with a doctoral degree in Food Science and Nutrition. She is a teacher, researcher and an author. Her passion for the subject prompted her to start writing blogs on various nutrition-related topics such as Diet Chart for Weight Loss, Health Benefits Of Green Tea, etc. Through her blogs, she wishes to help people gain a deeper understanding about the relationship between food, nutrition, lifestyle and health.