Chere A. Lucett, NASM CPT, PES, CES
When it comes to keeping your body healthy, your bones may not be receiving enough attention. Their functional counterparts, the muscles, always seem to benefit from our focus because of our ability to view them. Meanwhile, our bones go unnoticed and untreated, abused by our lackluster diets and inactive lifestyle. Well, it’s time to shift our focus to our bones, because like muscle, bones are alive and needing a little consideration from you!
From the beginning of life, your body is continually producing and losing bone. This is a two part process where bone is remodeled, old tissue is broken down and removed while new tissue is laid down to replace the old. Up until the age of 20, bone formation occurs at a more rapid pace than bone loss, helping to create strong, healthy bones. However as we age our bodies undergo change and as such, bone loss begins to occur faster than bone growth.
Here’s the surprising news, the pace at which our bodies lose bone can be declined or even stopped with proper diet and exercise! Healthy bones are generated from a balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin D in addition to a healthy lifestyle that includes weight-bearing exercise, avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. When we neglect our bones by not following recommended dietary guidelines and reducing our daily activity, we move closer to obtaining a bone-weakening disease termed osteoporosis. According to research, osteoporosis affects nearly 15 million Americans, mostly women. Surprisingly, numerous studies have shown a positive effect of adequate calcium intake and regular exercise, yet many women only consume one-third to one-half of the required daily calcium consumption needed to prevent bone loss. Don’t be a statistic! Add calcium rich foods to your diet such as, milk, yogurt, cheese and vegetables like broccoli and start a weight-bearing exercise program such as walking and resistance training to help keep your bones healthy and strong. Simple changes today can mean a better life tomorrow – and who doesn’t want to enjoy all the years to come?
As always, consult a physician before making changes to your diet and physical activity!
Check up on your own bone health with this handy tool!