Many of us in the under-50 age range think about bone health as a concern for our grandmothers or our mothers, but rarely for ourselves. I did too, until I was diagnosed with osteoporosis in my late 20s.
My situation may have been atypical, but it is certainly not unheard of. More and more young women are discovering that they have vitamin D deficiencies and other health concerns that can lead to low bone mass at an early age.
Moreover, bone loss begins in our mid-30s, clearly marking bone health as an issue not unique to an older population!
So what can we do to halt bone loss, prevent osteoporosis, and avoid the devastating falls and potential fractures that occur especially later in life? Take action now!
Here’s your plan:
1- Educate yourself on matters of bone health (you’re already starting!) Check out resources like the International Osteoporosis Foundation, National Osteoporosis Foundation and American Bone Health
2- Ensure you get the proper bone mineralization from food and supplementation. More than just calcium and Vitamin D, your body needs a host of other vitamins and minerals including vitamin K, B and C as well as magnesium, manganese, boron, copper, zinc and silicon – most of which you can obtain from food!
3- Minimize bone-depleting foods that are high in sugar (as well as all colas – even the diet ones!) and reduce consumption of animal protein. Acidifying foods foster an environment in the body for bone breakdown, leeching calcium from your bones.
4- Increase critical weight-bearing, resistance and impact exercise. Bone is living tissue and responds to the demands of these types of exercise by fortifying itself.
5- Practice good posture and alignment. When your skeleton is aligned, you generate forces better through the bones to strengthen them. You also improve muscle function which is essential to good bone health and facilitates better balance.
6- Improve your balance skills. Falls are a major cause of fractures and most falls are preventable by improving balance and reflexes. Think hips, feet, trunk, shoulders – it all comes into play.
7- Reduce stress which can harm your bones. High levels of the stress hormone cortisol are known to weaken the bones and depression has also been linked with low bone density. So find something every day to lighten your spirits!
8- Spread the word to inform others on the importance of bone safety. Most people aren’t aware of these simple acts that can, literally, make a world of difference.
So this month in honor of World Osteoporosis Day, make a difference. Tell your loved ones, your clients, your community why and how we need to protect our bones for life. Share this article and these simple steps and empower those around you for a better future of stronger skeletons!