Bone health may not be the most glamorous topic to think about, but it’s extremely important nonetheless. This is especially true for women who naturally begin losing bone strength when they enter menopause. After menopause, women continue to lose bone mass (osteoporosis) and bone strength, which increases the risk of breaks and fractures. What’s worse, you can easily experience bone loss without realizing it. More than 60 percent of spine fractures from osteoporosis cause no pain and are only noticeable from a change in posture or height.
While there is no way to prevent bone loss forever, there are certain things you can do to strengthen your bones today to postpone and minimize bone loss as much as possible. It’s never too late to start focusing on bone health.
- Do strength training exercises: Women often avoid strength training and weight training due to the fear of getting bulky muscles, but skipping a strength training session is one of the fastest ways to weaken your bones. To incorporate strength training into your routine, add in exercises that incorporate weights, whether from free-standing weights or your own body weight. These exercises include but are not limited to, squats, dumbbell lifts, pushups, bench presses, pull ups, planks, and lunges.
- Take a Vitamin-D Supplement: Vitamin D is essential to allow your bones to properly absorb and use calcium. You can’t have one without the other. To get more vitamin-D in your diet, you can take a supplement like Activ D3 or eat fortified foods like cereal, milk, and orange juice.
- Eat More Calcium: Calcium is the primary mineral responsible for bone and tooth development. Make sure you’re getting enough calcium every day through your diet and Good sources of calcium are milk, yogurt, and cheese. You can also get it through mom-dairy sources like white beans, figs, bok choy, kale, almonds, and oranges.
- Boost Your Potassium Intake: Potassium doesn’t directly improve bone health, but it can neutralize acids that would otherwise leach calcium from your bones. It’s potassium with the assist! To increase your potassium intake, eat sweet potatoes, bananas, and yogurt.
- Cut back on substances: Coffee and cigarettes negatively impact your bone health. Too much caffeine, as well as being a smoker, can interfere with your bones’ ability to absorb calcium, which keeps them strong. Alcohol (consumed in large quantities) can inhibit the benefits of Vitamin-D and exacerbate bone loss. However, one to two glasses of wine per day can actually improve bone health, so you don’t have to cut it out altogether.
- Know your family history: Because osteoporosis is hereditary, it’s important to know your family history with bone health so you can take precautions against it. The greatest familial risk comes from a parent or immediate sibling with osteoporosis, but grandparents and aunts/uncles can also increase your risk. So, find a time that’s not too awkward and ask your family about their bone health.
If you feel that you may be at a heightened risk of developing weak or brittle bones, contact Lisanne Wellness Center today at 713-461-WELL. Together, we can develop a plan to protect your bones potentially including a tailored diet, exercise routine, and supplements.