Are you looking to build stronger bones? Here are some simple tips that will help you build bones of steel.
Bones form an area where muscles can attach to so that they perform their normal function. Some bones such as the rib cage protect the lungs and the heart from injury and damage.
Our spinal column is composed of vertebral bones that protect the spinal-cord.
In short, the bones in our body are essential for us to stay healthy. In order to do this, the bones themselves must be healthy as well.
Why Should We Keep Our Bones Healthy?
Almost every day, new bone is formed in the body and old bone is discarded. This process occurs at a remarkable speed in our younger years.
However, as we get older, the quantity of new bone that is formed reduces and the amount of old bone that is destroyed increases.
This can make the bones weaker as we age.
You may have heard of the term called osteoporosis. This is a condition where the bones become extremely thin and brittle and very susceptible to fractures.
Osteoporosis may occur at the young age but is a common phenomenon in women after menopause.
The problem with thinning of the bones is that they can break easily from very minimal trauma. In order to prevent them from breaking and to build stronger bones, there are some simple methods that you could follow.
Before we look at this, let us take a look at what factors can affect the health of your bone.
Factors That Affect The Health Of Your Bone
Below is a short list of what factors are responsible for bone health.
1. Dietary Calcium Intake
If your diet is poor in calcium, it is possible that over a period of time your bones would become weak and thin.
Smokers produce a great deal of antioxidants in their blood which can damage the bone and its underlying structure. This can make the bones thin and weak.
3. Excessive Alcohol Use
Excessive use of alcohol has been directly linked to the development of osteoporosis. While small amounts of alcohol in moderation may be good for the heart and your health, consuming more than two alcoholic drinks a day could increase your risk of bone thinning.
4. Female Gender
Women are protected from bone thinning in their younger years.
After menopause, the lack of oestrogen can lead to osteoporosis and easy fracturing of the bones.
Furthermore, women have a lesser amount of bone when compared to men which also increases the risk of osteoporosis.
Those who are physically active have stronger bones compared to those who are couch potatoes and are limited in their activities.
6. Body Weight
It is not just those who are overweight who have problems with their bones. Individuals who are extremely thin and possibly even malnourished can have bone thinning and osteoporosis.
Some individuals who suffer from eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia can develop calcium deficiency and bone thinning.
Those who have undergone weight loss surgery or suffer from certain bowel conditions such as coeliac disease can also develop weakening of the bones as calcium is not absorbed from the food that is consumed.
7. Medication Use
There are certain medicines that can result in thinning of bones. A common example is prolonged use of steroids. Steroids are usually used in the treatment of lung disease or if an individual is undergoing treatment for cancer.
Certain other drugs such as those used for psychiatric conditions and for rheumatoid arthritis can also sometimes cause bone thinning and loss of calcium from the bone.
8. Family History
osteoporosis and weak bones are very common in individuals in India. This is not just because of genetics but also because of the strong family history of the condition. If you have a parent or a sibling who suffers from osteoporosis, then it is highly likely that you too will develop the condition.
Given the above risk factors, it is important to take the right steps to build stronger bones.
So here are some tips on how you can do this.
Tips To Build Stronger Bones
here are some of the common tips I give my patients to help them build up the strength of their bones and prevent easy fracturing.
1. Consume More Calcium In Your Diet
Currently, it is recommended that we consume at least 1 mg of calcium every day. In women above the age of 50, this increases to around 1.2 to 1.3 mg per day. This recommendation is similar for men above the age of 70 years.
Rather than take supplements every time the calcium is low, it is easy to replace low calcium and improve the strength of your bones through diet alone.
Foods that are rich in calcium include dairy products, almonds, oily fish such as salmon and sardines, soya products and broccoli. You can mix and match these any way you want but make sure you keep them healthy.
2. Correct The Vitamin D Levels
Vitamin D is essential for the absorption of calcium that we consume. Normally, vitamin D is synthesized in the body through exposure to sunlight.
Unfortunately, recent years have seen reduced synthesis of vitamin D due to increasing levels of pollution and damage to the ozone layer. This means that we are not getting enough quantity of vitamin D synthesis in our body on a regular basis.
In addition to this, we follow a culture in our country where we tend to cover ourselves up when we venture outside our house. Due to this, the surface area of skin that is exposed to sunlight also reduces and consequently vitamin D synthesis also reduces.
It is possible to get vitamin D through our diet given that our daily requirement is around 600 to 800 international units a day.
Unfortunately, all good sources of vitamins B are non-vegetarian and include oily fish such as sardines and tuna and egg yolks. If you are vegetarian, you may require an oral supplement prescribed on a weekly basis to correct your low vitamin D levels.
3. Exercise More For Stronger Bones
One of the best ways to build stronger bones is through exercise. These exercises need to include what are commonly called as ‘weight-bearing’ exercises.
This means there must be some force or pressure on the bones during exercise that will stimulate them to grow stronger.
According to an article on Harvard health, one way of building up the density of bones in your legs is performing the ‘standing calf’ exercise.
Here, you face a chair and hold onto the backrest with your hands. Make sure your feet are flat on the floor and raise yourself gradually so that you are standing on your toes. Hold this position briefly and then return back to your normal position.
This exercise should be performed for 8 to 10 repetitions. Perform 3 or 4 sets of this every day.
Some of the best exercises to build stronger bones include walking, jogging, climbing stairs and playing sports such as tennis and badminton. In fact, any exercise is good exercise to help keep you healthy, your heart strong and mind sharp.
4. Avoid Smoking And Alcohol Intake
If you do not smoke and do not consume alcohol, then kudos to you – your already on your way to building bones of steel.
However, if you do smoke or overindulgent alcohol on a regular basis, then it’s time to cut down as soon as possible.
5. Lose Weight
Maintain an ideal body weight with a body mass index of less than 23. This can prevent excessive strain on the bones, especially the ones in your legs.
If you have a paunch or a big belly, then start performing some form of abdominal exercises to strengthen your core. A strong core can keep your belly in shape and can help relieve back pain.
How Do I Know If My Bones Are Weak?
A simple test known as a bone density test can help you determine if your bones are weak.
I will not discuss this test in detail as I have already done so elsewhere.
By undergoing a bone density test, you could detect whether you have normal bone structure or whether your bones are susceptible to fractures.
Having weak and thin bones can be problematic as it can result in tremendous amount of pain and fractures. These simple tips to build stronger bones can help you stay healthy and avoid the constant use of painkillers.