Osteoporosis and increased fracture risk are common concerns among a greying population of baby-boomers. Aging women are especially vulnerable to the effects of diminishing bone density. While drugs have been developed to help treat or prevent osteoporosis, financial considerations or potential side-effects may limit their use. Additionally, many people prefer to pursue natural alternatives when possible, to prevent or treat health problems. For an at-risk population, dietary modifications and exercise can work to complement a prescription approach, or may serve as a natural alternative to help strengthen bones.
Calcium and vitamin D are priority nutrients for building and maintaining bone strength. The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends low-fat dairy products as a reliable source of calcium. Additional vitamins and minerals necessary for good bone development can be assured by including an abundant variety of fruits and vegetables in the diet. A study published in January 2000 in the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” found a strong correlation between elevated bone mass and diets high in fruits and vegetables.
People with allergies or intolerance to dairy products who rely solely on nondairy food sources may find it difficult to consistently consume the 1,000 to 1,200 mg of calcium per day as recommended by the National Osteoporosis Foundation. Overweight people, those with inflammatory bowel diseases or those who spend little time in the sun may be at risk for vitamin D deficiency. Nutritional supplements may be necessary for some people to maintain adequate levels of these important nutrients. The recommended vitamin D intake for people older than age 50 is 800 to 1,000 IU per day.
Hands may form callouses in response to repetitive friction and pressure on the skin. Increased bone mass is a similar response to stress on the skeletal system. For an exercise to yield stronger bones, it must produce enough stress on the bones to force an adaptive response. The best exercises to induce this type of stress on bones are high-impact, weight-bearing exercises. The National Osteoporosis Foundation suggests dancing, hiking, jogging, jumping rope, stair climbing or tennis. People with severe osteoporosis and extreme fracture risk may need to choose weight-bearing exercises that are somewhat less jarring, such as walking or low-impact aerobics.
Lean Body Mass
Having larger, stronger muscles may mean stronger bones as well. Research published in March 2010 in “Biomed Central Musculoskeletal Disorders” showed that increased body weight, or mass, was associated with having increased bone mass. The effect was more pronounce when muscle, rather than fat, contributed to a greater extent to overall body mass. Since muscle mass tends to diminish in post menopausal women, striving to maintain or increase muscle mass is especially important to bone health in this population. In their book “Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning,” Thomas Baechle and Roger Earle recommend weight training exercises such as squats and bench presses. Selecting a weight that can be lifted 6 to 12 times and performing 3 to 5 sets with short rest intervals is recommended for building muscle mass.
These are the effective ways to make your bones strong naturally. If you found this post useful then please do like and share it with your friends and family!