HYDERABAD: The theme of this year’s World Health Day, talks about increasing life expectancy with good health and promoting healthier living habits among people. The day has passed, but it is important that we learn about ways to sustain good health and bone care is one crucial aspect.
Bones are a living and growing tissue. Bone releases calcium and other minerals into the body when you need them for other uses. As you age, bone loss gradually increases. If you neglect your bone health, you increase the risk of prolonged suffering including fractured limbs and a loss of independence.Bone health is important throughout your life, but it’s even more important as you get older. Most of us would correctly say that building strong bones is of primary concern to prevent arthritis, osteoporosis, fracture, paget’s disease, etc.
The health of our bones is instrumental to our health and longevity. This understanding is important because there are many toxins and contaminants in the environment and the food chain that affects our bones. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, people in the age of 50’s and younger should aim for 1,000 mg of calcium per day while senior citizens should increase the consumption by 200 mg.
Eating right for bone health basically comes down to two nutrients: calcium and vitamin D. Bones reach peak density when you’re in your 20s. From then on, your job is to keep those levels up by getting enough calcium and vitamin D, exercising, and taking other steps. Food that works wonder for keeping your bone health includes:
- milk, drink calcium and vitamin D-fortified orange juice, or non dairy fortified milk like soy, almond, or coconut milk
Green leafy vegetables
- Grapefruit in breakfast - Citrus fruits have vitamin C, which has been shown to help prevent bone loss
- Low sodium diet
- No or very less consumption of intoxicants
- Salmon, catfish, tuna and eggs Not only food but staying active can also resolve your bone problem and help you maintain good bone health.
- Following exercises are ideal for strong bones:
- High-impact weight-bearing exercises help build bones and keep them strong. Weight bearing exercises such as weight training, walking, hiking, jogging, climbing stairs, tennis, and dancing. If you have broken a bone due to osteoporosis or are at risk of breaking a bone, you may need to avoid high-impact exercises. In such cases always consult your doctor.
- Low-impact weight-bearing exercises can also help keep bones strong and are a safe alternative to high-impact exercises. Examples of low-impact weight-bearing exercises are, using elliptical training machines, low-impact aerobics, using stair-step machines, exercising on a treadmill or brisk walking.
- Muscle-Strengthening exercises, where you move your body against gravity or conduct weight bearing exercises. They are also known as resistance exercises and include lifting weights, using elastic exercise bands, or basic functional movements such as standing and rising up on your toes.
- Yoga and Pilates can also improve strength, balance and flexibility. However, certain positions may not be safe for people with osteoporosis or those at increased risk of broken bones. A physical therapist should be able to help you learn which exercises are safe and appropriate for you.