What are you doing today to ensure healthy bones in your future? Unfortunately, too many young patients neglect this aspect of their health and spend their later years struggling with thin, fragile bones and osteoporosis. This condition is preventable, but good habits need to begin early to create the bone strength needed for long, healthy lives.
In recognition of National Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month, we offer a few tips for keeping your bones strong.
Getting plenty of calcium in your diet can dramatically decrease your chances of being diagnosed with osteoporosis later down the road. While milk and other dairy products are the most common sources of calcium, you can also receive plenty of this bone-strengthening nutrient from dark leafy greens and vegetables, such as spinach leaves, kale, or broccoli.
Next to calcium, vitamin D is the most important nutrient for keeping bones healthy and strong. With daily sunlight exposure, the human body can create all the vitamin D needed without any external sources. You only need 10 to 15 minutes in the sun to get the necessary amount of vitamins, so don't risk damaging your skin by staying out for hours at a time without sunblock. If you can't get outside or the sun is obscured by heavy clouds, try purchasing groceries such as milk, orange juice, or cereal that have been fortified with vitamin D. Supplements are also available as a source of daily vitamin D.
Underused bones naturally begin to weaken and deteriorate over long periods of time. One of the best ways to maintain the bone strength you build with good nutrition is to exercise regularly. Running, weight training, and aerobics are all effective methods of protecting the durability of your bones. Any activity that places stress on your bones without overdoing it could be a good choice for a strengthening exercise routine. If your bones have already become fragile or thin, it might be a good idea to consult a physical therapist about techniques that will strengthen your bones without putting you at risk for a fracture or break.
If you're concerned about your bone strength, Imaging Services at St. Lucie Medical Center and provide a bone densitometry test for you. Call our free Consult-A-Nurse® service anytime at 1-800-449-8345 to ask questions or get a physician referral.