We all know how important it is to have strong healthy bones …. right?
But did you know it’s not just about drinking and eating calcium rich foods?
Whilst you’re young, you take your bone health for granted, why would you worry about osteoporosis in your 20’s, you’ve got years yet before you need to do anything.
Up until your 30’s, our body does a good job of creating new bone faster than it breaks old bone down. This results in positive bone mass levels. Research shows that around this age however, this process starts to reverse somewhat, meaning our bone mass is degenerating faster than it’s regenerating.
Why should this matter to you?
To ensure your bones remain strong and healthy to carry you through to old age, it’s important to start ‘banking deposits’ from childhood through to your 30’s. This is particularly important for women (like me!) as we creep towards that wonderful time in our lives – Menopause. Studies show that as much as 20%-30% of a woman’s bone mass simply disappears in the 5-7 years after menopause! This is due to the fact our body is no longer producing the estrogen levels it needs to help maintain bone density.
A little bit scary huh?! Don’t worry – you can do something about it, starting TODAY!
Firstly, if you’re 30 or over, you can get a bone density test (these are done routinely at certain chemists, but you can discuss this with your GP). Once you have the results from the test, you can then act accordingly.
Today’s poor diet has put us a little on the back foot when it comes to issues such as bone health. Starting now however, you can start to turn things around by changing your eating habits: plenty of fresh veg – especially dark leafy greens, dairy(1), fortified tofu, some nuts [ie, almonds – just a few!], fish – canned, ie, salmon (with bone), fresh oily fish.
Just as important is that dirty word – exercise! Yep good old fashioned exercise can help reverse poor bone density. Studies over recent years have proven that weight training (even lightweight training) significantly increases the production of bone mass, thus ensuring your bones are stronger and more resistant to fractures and breaks as you get older. Furthermore, your joints will remain more ‘fluid’; less prone to creaking and aching! At 55, I’m living testament to this hypothesis – I’ve never been fitter, healthier and more energised in my entire life and it’s all thanks to taking up serious fitness including CrossFIT and long distance running in 2012, which not only made me take stock of what I was feeding my body but also ensured I have a good healthy set of bones to get me through to a ripe old age!
Combine resistance training and some cardio(2) (brisk walking, jogging, cycling) into your daily regime and you’ll be more than ready to hit your senior years with a spring in your step!
Hit me up if you’re really not sure where to begin.
(1) Choose good quality dairy – low in sugar and salt, high in calcium and good fats. Check the label before you buy; a lot of the mass produced yoghurts have so many ‘fillers’ in them to make them taste nice, there’s little room for the good stuff! I recommend Jalna® pot set yoghurt.
(2) The Australian Guidelines now estimates 30 to 60 minutes per day is optimum for good health.