Tips to Keep Your Bones Healthy

Bone health is crucial to a vibrant, active lifestyle, so it’s important to cultivate bone-friendly habits. The National Osteoporosis Foundation estimates that 57 million Americans are at risk of osteoporosis. Although our bones do become thinner and lose density as we age, there are habits we can embrace to protect the health of our bones, and reduce our risk of injury as we grow older.

Exercise.

It is always best to consult with a physician before embarking on a new exercise program, particularly as you grow older. Over time, high-impact exercises can increase risks of joint pain and fracture. Generally, weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening exercises are a low-risk and effective way to protect your bones and prevent fractures.

Calcium-Rich Foods.

Studies have shown that most of us don’t get enough calcium to maintain healthy bones. Dairy products are an obvious source of calcium, but you’ll also boost bone health by serving yourself regular helpings of salmon, sardines, dark leafy green vegetables and broccoli. If you are looking for calcium-rich snacks, almonds and dried figs are great choices.

Vitamin D.

We need vitamin D to absorb calcium. During Minnesota’s winter months, it’s hard to get the vitamin D we need from the sun. The best food sources for vitamin D include fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel, cheese, egg yolks, and mushrooms. Most milk, orange juice, yogurt, and breakfast cereals are fortified with vitamin D, making them good sources too.

Don’t smoke.

Tobacco use is bad news for health in general; and your bone health is no exception. Loss of bone mineral density has been associated with tobacco use. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you do smoke, find a program to help you quit.

Don’t drink in excess.

If you enjoy a cocktail, indulge in moderation. Excessive alcohol consumption is linked to bone density loss. To be kind to your bones, restrict yourself to no more than one cocktail a day.

By cultivating bone-healthy habits, you will enjoy an active lifestyle longer, and reduce your risk of bone-related injuries.

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