Maintaining strong bones takes a commitment to preventative measures and good health, but the self-discipline required is always worth it. Frail bones and osteoporosis can make old age painful, expensive, and filled with inconvenient and unnecessary trips to the doctor after a fall. Invest in your future health by working on strong bones today.
Changing Your Diet
You can't have healthy bones without a healthy diet. Growing up, you probably learned that drinking milk was the best way to ensure strong bones. Calcium is one of the most important nutrients, but vitamin D is often overlooked. Look for milk that has been fortified with vitamin D for an extra boost of bone-strengthening nutrition. If you are lactose intolerant, many soy and almond milks contain calcium and vitamin D as well. Aim for three servings a day.
Along with dairy products, stock up on dark leafy greens, such as spinach, kale, or broccoli.
Vitamin D is also naturally produced by your body – if you're getting daily exposure to sunlight. Don't damage your skin, however; just 10 to 15 minutes outside should do the trick.
Although calcium and vitamin D are the cornerstones of good bone health, other vitamins and nutrients also play a role. Make sure you are getting adequate amounts of B vitamins, vitamin C, and magnesium. It is best to receive the majority of your nutrients from real foods, but supplements can help pick up the slack if you aren't getting enough through your daily meals.
Have you ever heard the phrase "use it or lose it"? It's true for your bones. If you live a sedentary lifestyle, and your bones aren't experiencing much pressure or movement, they will begin to weaken over time. Keep your bones strong by regularly engaging in a full-body workout. Try walking, swimming and resistance training.
Remember, it is important to challenge yourself when you exercise, but overworking your bones and muscles can be just as damaging as underworking them. Stay safe. Start small and gradually increase the length and intensity of your workouts. If you have questions, talk to your doctor or a personal trainer.
May is National Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month. What steps are you taking to ensure your future bone health? For more information about maintaining strong bones, contact the Orthopedics department at St. Pete General . We specialize in prevention as well as top-notch orthopedic surgery.
Want to ask your questions in person? We have a number of informative lectures coming up. All are scheduled for 12 noon at the YMCA Jim & Heather Gills. Just call 1-888-741-5122 for more information and to register.
Monday, May 7: Minimally Invasive Hip & Knee Surgery … Are You a Candidate? Led by Kurt Hirshorn, MD.
Monday, May 14: Shoulder Injuries and the Weekend Warrior. Led by Jeffrey L. Tedder, MD.
Tuesday, June 5: Common Hand and Upper Extremity Injuries. Led by Jorge Rodriguez, MD.