Bone strengthening gets to its peak when one is in adolescence but the rate at which the bone grows in strength begins to slow down once one turns 25. In addition to this normal bone loss, man is less likely to engage in high-impact, bone-strengthening exercises like jumping after the age of 50. This increases the risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures and breaks. But, luckily, stronger bones can be built at any age.
The steps below are offered by experts to help you learn how to strengthen bones for as long as you live.
How to Strengthen Bones: Have These 8 Things Done!
Begin When You Are Young
You must begin to take the health of your bones as your top priority when you are still young, long before you start approaching the age of menopause. We keep seeing a lot of women and some men in their mid thirties who already have some bone problems – a trend that has been traced to the unhealthy lifestyles they have been living since they were teenagers. All through your life, make it your duty to insist on eating nothing less than adequately balanced, healthy foods such as fish, fresh fruits, diary, and vegetables to keep your weight in the healthy range.
Increase Your Calcium Intake
To most people, bones mean calcium and calcium means bones. This is one very essential mineral you must not ignore in your quest to know how to strengthen bones. Calcium encourages the growth of bones and teeth. It is also essential for effective muscle activities, good nerve signaling, adequate hormone secretions and blood pressure.
Some great sources of this essential mineral are cottage cheese, yoghurt, and several other low-fat dairy products. Other sources include fish with bones like salmon, whitebait and sardines.
For added benefits, serve these listed foods with some dark green leafy vegetables or broccoli which can also contain calcium. Some other snacks that can help build bones include dried figs, almonds, calcium-filled tofu and, if you like non-dairy foods, soy milk.
Make Vitamin D a Part of Your Diet
You can't find calcium without vitamin D: the two works like team members to enhance the calcium-absorbing power of the body. Boost the consumption of vitamin D by eating shrimps, fortified foods such as orange juice, cereal, eggs(in the yolks), sardines and tuna, or choose vitamin D supplements.
When exposed to the sun, the human body produces vitamin D: about 10-15 minutes of exposure 3 times a week will do. The importance of vitamin D to the health of your bones has been proven by various researches on seasonal bone loss – inadequate sun exposure can lead to the loss of bone mass in adults during the winter. Though these and several other researches on bone loss focused on elderly people mostly, bone health is more or less about prevention, so to get adequate stock of the all-important vitamin D, make sure you get enough sun exposure early in adulthood.
Reduce Your Intake of Caffeine
Most caffeine-containing beverages like coffee and cola, are linked to bone loss by some studies, though the specific relationship between the two is yet to be known. Some health professionals believe the main issue should be on getting healthier beverages like juice and milk as replacements for cola and coffee. It is advised that adults keep their daily caffeine intake within the range of 400mg or less.
Children and young adults below 18 are advised not to have caffeine, which has been linked to a number of developments and health issues. Caffeine will not stop growth in these children, but it can lead to a number of other problems like anxiety and palpitations.
Cola is known to contain phosphoric acid and this acid can lead to the leaching of calcium away from bones. Soft drinks such as lemon-lime soda and ginger ale that do not contain any phosphoric acid have no links to bone loss whatsoever, though the sugar-content of most of these drinks is not healthy for you.
Some caffeine-containing beverages, like black tea, have no association with bone loss.
Quit Smoking and Limit Alcohol Consumption
Smoking increases the speed at which your bones can be depleted. Female smokers have been found to have much lower estrogen levels and tend to experience menopause at a much younger age, and these two conditions speed up the bone loss process.
If you are in the habit of drinking, make sure you do not take it beyond two drinks per day as a man and no more than one drink per day as a woman. Anything above this will hinder your body's ability to take in calcium and will also slow down the formation of new bones.
Reduce Your Salt Intake
Just like alcohol and caffeine, salty food can cause calcium loss in your body and can also accelerate bone loss. Processed foods are known to come with high salt content, so reduce your intake. When you eat these foods, search for brands that either have low or no salt content.
Engage In Weight-Bearing Physical Exercises
To keep most health problems at arm's length, it is important you engage in regular exercises. Bone health also benefits from this tip.
A s a matter of fact, experts have identified a sedentary lifestyle as one of the major risk factors for osteoporosis. According to one study that compared bone density among college women with varying body weights and different levels of activities discovered that athletes that have low body weight possessed the highest bone density among any group in this study, which shows that exercises and low body weight can affect bone density positively.
What exercise can be considered most effective in this regard? Weight-enduring exercises are simply ideal. These exercises involve the activities that help you move against gravity while you are standing upright. These weight-bearing exercises can be either high-impact or low-impact.
All high-impact weight-enduring exercises are ideal for building your bones and strengthening them. There may be need for you to avoid high-impact exercises if you have ever broken a bone in the past as a result of osteoporosis or stand the risk of breaking a bone. Check with your healthcare provider if you are not sure.
Examples of some of these high-impact weight-enduring exercises include:
Doing some high-impact aerobics
Some low-impact weight-enduring exercises can equally help keep your bones strong and can be regarded as safe alternatives if you cannot endure the high-impact exercises. Some examples of weight-enduring exercises include:
Making use of elliptical training machines
Engaging in low-impact aerobics
Making use of stair-step machines
Walk fast on a treadmill or outside one
You can do this for about 30 minutes on a stretch on most days in the week. You can do a 30 minute session or a number of sessions at different times on the same day. Whichever way you choose to do them, they will deliver the same benefits to your bone.
Choose a Supplement
Your calcium intake ought to be increased as you grow older, which makes it a challenge to get all the calcium you need from your food alone. The United States recommend a daily intake of about 1000 mg of calcium from your 20s to your 40s.
When you hit menopause as a woman, you will need between 1 000 – 1500 mg per day unless you are on any hormone therapy according to Jeffers. Men between 50 and 70 need about 1000 mg daily; while men who are over 70 need about 1200 mg per day.
And since your body can only absorb about 500 mg of calcium at once, divide your dosages all through the day. Consult your doctor before you begin your calcium supplement intake to know the right amount you should take daily.