Bones Build Body Stability – If you are reading this article then you are one among many that understand the importance of making and keeping your bones strong. Are you looking for a simple and practical approach to prevent bone loss? Perhaps you suffer from weak bones or are trying to help a friend or family member overcome this problem. Keeping your bones strong is one of the best things you can do to support your body weight, enhance flexibility, and maximize movement. Read on to discover all you need to know about how you can build bone density naturally to help keep you fit and functional.
Why We Need Strong Bones
Our bones create the internal framework that supports our body weight. Combined with joints, they allow us to move in a flexible manner. They help add strength to our movement by providing a way for muscles to attach to them, via tendons. Bone density (structural soundness) determines overall bone strength. We need normal density for each bone to be able to effectively deal with our weight and movement without deforming or breaking.
No matter who you are and what you do, strong bones are an essential part of keeping yourself healthy and fit. As we age it is especially important to maintain good bone health. There is an important relationship between physical activity and bone health. Staying active helps maintain strong bones and, in turn, strong bones allow you to stay active.
The Formula For Success
Proper nutrition and a fixed regimen of weight-bearing exercise are the basic building blocks for achieving and maintaining adequate bone health. The importance of eating right and exercising regularly cannot be overemphasized. Depending on your age and particular situation, additional factors may need to be considered to keep your bones strong, many of which are listed below. Here is a video from Sharp Healthcare that highlights some important dietary tips for good bone health.
What Affects Bone Strength?
There are many things that can affect the overall strength of our bones, especially as we age. Here are some of the most common factors to consider. They can be beneficial in improving bone strength in both osteopenia and osteoporosis (both defined below).
- Diet – Eating a diet rich in Calcium and Vitamin D, along with taking dietary supplements, will keep your bones strong and strengthen the weak ones over time. Examples include cheese, yogurt, and almond milk. The sun may not be the best source of Vitamin D, since prolonged exposure to ultraviolet radiation can lead to skin wrinkling or cancer. To learn more about this see Protect Skin From The Sun Naturally – Stay Young Looking!
- Caffeine, Tobacco, & Alcohol Use – All these substances have been scientifically proved to decrease bone strength over time. If you drink alcohol then it is best to confine yourself to one drink a day or less. Tobacco and alcohol can harm your body in numerous ways, including putting you at risk for various cancerous conditions.
- Exercise – Exercise is important to do on a daily basis and has numerous health benefits. Weight-bearing exercise, like walking or running, is most effective for strengthening bones. Lack of exercise can lead to progressive bone loss as well as muscle atrophy (decrease in size and strength).
- Body Size – People that have a small bone structure and are underweight are at higher risk to lose bone density as they age. Close attention to diet is important. Consider consulting a nutritionist if your weight is not ideal for your height (BMI) and body frame.
- Hormonal changes – A decrease in hormone levels is a normal part of the aging process. Low levels of estrogen and testosterone can cause a decrease in the bone density of women and men, respectively. Hormone replacement therapy may become necessary to prevent serious bone weakness, especially in postmenopausal women.
- GI problems and eating disorders – An inability to properly absorb Vitamin D or calcium from your diet can result from weight loss (bariatric) surgery or digestive disorders like celiac disease. Anorexia and bulimia can both result in abnormally low levels of vitamins and minerals from malnutrition.
- Age – As we age it is important to remain physically active and take dietary supplements. Weight-bearing exercises like walking and lifting weights will maintain and even increase bone density. Women may require routine bone density testing, especially after becoming postmenopausal.
- Gender (female), Race (white & Asian), & Family History – These are all predetermined inherited risk factors for increased bone loss. If you have a strong family history of osteopenia or osteoporosis then communicate this information to your healthcare provider.
- Medications & Supplements – There are many medications that can affect bone strength. Steroids, like prednisone, commonly lower bone density, while osteoporosis medications like biphosphonates can prevent bone loss. Dietary supplements, like Vitamin D & calcium, are essential for building bone.
Measurements of Bone Density: Osteopenia versus Osteoporosis – One of the best ways to monitor bone health is to measure bone density. Your healthcare provider can order a bone density test to determine your bone strength and statistically compare it to others in your category of the general population. This is useful as a routine screening test or to monitor people that are at high risk for bone loss. To learn more about bone density testing see Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry.
The severity of bone density loss is categorized as:
- Osteopenia – Osteopenia literally means “lack of bone”. It can be thought of as “pre-osteoporosis”. If you develop osteopenia, this is the time to act to prevent your bones from getting more brittle (more osteopenic) and even possibly advancing to the next stage of bone loss (osteoporosis).
- Osteoporosis – Osteoporosis literally means “porous bone. It results from the progressive worsening of osteopenia. When bones weaken to this point then just your normal body weight can cause them to become deformed and cracked, like a compression fracture of a bone in the spine (vertebral compression fracture). Traumatic events, like an accidental fall, may result in an even more serious and painful injury, like a hip fracture.
Do It Your Way
The best way to improve your bone health is to design a program of diet and exercise that incorporates a plan to address all your possible risk factors for developing osteopenia or osteoporosis. If you have a history of medical problems then it’s best to do this in conjunction with your healthcare provider. Incorporate your program into your daily routine in a way that gives you the flexibility you need to do it when and where an opportunity arises.
There are many ways to build bone density and prevent bone loss. Focusing on preventative measures now is the best way to prevent serious problems later on. Everyone needs to eat right and exercise regularly. Each of us may have specific risk factors that make bone loss more likely. Age is a universal risk factor that typically becomes important at around 50 and older. The older we get, the more important good bone health becomes. Understanding of all the ways you can make your bones strong will help you to create your own customized improvement and maintenance program.
Tell Us What You Think
Please let us know what’s on your mind in the comment section, or if I can help you with anything.
- Do you have any additional tips or suggestions?
- How do you keep your bones strong?
- Are you currently dealing with weak bones?
- Any tips to share and how are they helpful?