Look after your bones!
Look after your bones!
According to the Royal Osteoporosis Society, more than 3 million people in the UK have osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a condition that weakens bones, making them fragile and more likely to break. Osteopaenia (sometimes spelled osteopenia) is the medical name for low bone density, or thinning of the bones. If you have low bone density, your bones are more fragile and you are more likely to develop osteoporosis.
Women over 50 are particularly vulnerable to this condition, especially after the menopause. Bone mass reaches peak density at about the age of 30. Thereafter, we all need to take conscious steps to protect our bones.
People are often unaware of having low bone density until they fracture or break a bone. The good news is that there are steps you can take to rebuild your bone and stop the progression of osteoporosis in its tracks. One of Bee-Fit’s members was diagnosed with osteopaenia which is what motivated her to join the gym. After a year of rigorous weight bearing exercise with our PTs, she increased her bone density by 20% and was back in the healthy bone density zone.
What can you do to look after your bones?
- calcium(1,000mg/day for adults and 1,200mg/day for women over 50 and men over 70)
- vitamin D(to aid absorption of calcium) (10-20mg/day for adults)
- protein(46g/day for average sedentary women; 56g/day for average sedentary man)
The best source of calcium is from your diet. Supplements are essential if your diet is lacking, but calcium from food and eaten throughout the day is much better absorbed by the body than a daily pill.
Sources of Calcium:
- green vegetables, especially broccoli and kale
- non-dairy milk alternatives fortified with calcium
- fortified cereals
- canned sardines and salmon with edible bones
- lentils and beans
- almonds (highest of all nuts)
Sources of vitamin D
- Fatty fish, like tuna, mackerel, and salmon
- Foods fortified with vitamin D, like some dairy products, orange juice, soy milk, and cereals.
- Beef liver.
- Egg yolks.
Sources of protein
A study published in Osteoporosis International found that a protein-rich diet, provided there is adequate calcium intake, is beneficial for adult bone health.
- lean meat, poultry and fish.
- dairy products like milk, yoghurt and cheese.
- seeds and nuts.
- beans and legumes (such as lentils and chickpeas)
- soy products like tofu.
Not good! Nicotine causes bone mineral loss
Consuming too much alcohol interferes with the balance of calcium in the body as well as the production of hormones, which have a protective effect on bone, and of vitamins that are required for calcium absorption.
Any exercise that works the body against gravity (examples below) will be hugely beneficial. The skeleton responds to the “stress” of exercise by building more bone.
- high intensity
- weight training
- core strength training – does not build bone but it is important to support the skeleton
(swimming does not help as the body is held by the water)
We all need to look after our bones – men, women, children, adults. Unless you are having regular bone density checks, you will not be aware of the hidden dangers of bone thinning and the serious problems this could be storing up for you in your later years, leading to decreased mobility and loss of independence.
The lifestyle choices you make now will have a dramatic impact on your future. Do your future self a huge favour and take a few minutes today to consider your diet and lifestyle. Are you looking after your bones?
Why not read more blogs by Bee-Fit