Bones support your body, allow you to move and protect vital organs like your brain, spinal cord, and heart from injury. Bones are a living tissue in the body made of collagen protein and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium. Bones act as a storage place for these nutrients which the body can make withdraws. As we age we deposit more and more as we grow, for the most part bone growth peaks our third decade and after this time we can start to lose bone mass. Balanced diet rich in proteins, minerals and vitamins can help but, there are things we can do to slow the loss.
Like muscle, bones become stronger the more you exercise. It is important to start regular exercises in our twenties. Starting exercise habits early is vital to strong bones when we are older. If you have been busy with school and climbing the corporate ladder in your young adult years, fear not, it’s never too late to start.
If you are older and already have risk for osteoporosis then low impact weight bearing exercises can be ideal such as walking, gardening and dancing. The National Osteoporosis Association also recommends muscle strengthening with weights or stretchy elastic bands. Joining a group for Tai Chi, Yoga or Pilates will not only improve strength and bone mass but, also balance and flexibility.
- Remember, exercise is only one part of an osteoporosis prevention or treatment program. Like a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D, exercise helps strengthen bones at any age. But proper exercise and diet may not be enough to stop bone loss caused by medical conditions, menopause, or lifestyle choices such as tobacco use and excessive alcohol consumption. It is important to speak with your doctor about your bone health. Discuss whether you might be a candidate for a bone mineral density test. If you are diagnosed with low bone mass, ask what medications might help keep your bones strong.
- The National Institutes of Health Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases