Your body contains over 200 bones, joined together to provide the structural support you need to stay upright and protect your organs. Find out what you can do to boost the strength of your bones.
Did you know that bone is actually living tissue?
Your bones are constantly changing as old bone is replaced by new. This process happens throughout your life, but slows down as you get older.
As you head into your 40s, you start to loose old bone tissue faster than you can replace it, and your bone mass gradually decreases.1
Taking care of your bones
Taking steps to strengthen your bones will reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis, a condition where bones become fragile and more likely to break. The earlier you start to take care of your bones before the bone mass starts to decrease, the better. 2
Here are some simple steps that you can take to keep your bones healthy and strong.
Bone needs to be exercised, just like muscles, to stay strong.
The best way to strengthen your bones at any age is to do regular “weight-bearing” exercise 3, the kind of activities that involves supporting the weight of your own body:
- Brisk walking
- Stair climbing
- Lifting weights
- Sports of any kind
If you have osteoporosis, it's just as important to stay active- there are plenty of gentle exercise options to try. 4 Have a chat with your doctor to find out which type of physical activity may suit you best.
Eating and Drinking
Do you know that your bones store 99% of the calcium in your body?
The expression “you are what you eat” is legit. Foods rich in calcium, vitamins, and minerals will keep your bones strong. Adults need about 700mg calcium a day. 5
You may try adding some of these to your daily diet to boost your bones: 1,5
- Whole grain breakfast cereal fortified with calcium (with low-fat milk)
- Sandwich on whole grain bread with low-fat cheese
- Low-fat yogurt
- Dried fruit and nut snacks (particularly almonds)
- Broccoli, carrots, and cabbage
- Soy beans or tofu
- Fish eaten with the bones such as tinned sardines
- Mineral water or soy drinks with added calcium (as shown on the label)
A little bit of sun to top up your vitamin D level can also give your bones a boost, because it helps your body to absorb calcium. Just make sure to use sunscreen!
Doing regular exercises and having a balanced diet, will help you maintain the strong bones you need to support you for a long and healthy life.
- Bone and joint health. British Nutrition Foundation. July 2013.
- Physical activity, calcium intake and bone health in children and adolescents. Ondrak KS and Morgan DW. Sports Medicine 2007: 37(7); 587-600.
- Physical activity and bone health. American College of Sports Medicine. July 2013.
- Preventing osteoporosis-related fractures: an overview. Gass M and Dawson-Hughes B. Am J Med. 2006: 119(4 Suppl 1): S3-S11.
- Calcium. NHS Choices. July 2013.
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