Whoever dreamed we’d be thinking about our bone health when we were swinging from the parallel bars in junior high or sprinting down the stairs, two steps at a time.
But now that we are, take these solid steps to ensure that your skeletons stay strong, balanced and flexible.
What You Need
& Why You Need It
- Calcium: It’s vital for building and keeping strong healthy bones. Our bodies always will maintain normal blood calcium, but at the expense of our bones, which house the vast majority of our calcium. If we don’t have enough all around, our blood will “rob” the calcium from our bones and weaken them.
- Vitamin D: This helps our bodies absorb calcium, but an astounding 70 percent of us don’t have enough of it. Ask your doctor to check your 25-hydroxy vitamin D level, which should be over 32 for optimal bone health.
- Exercise: The more exercise we get, the better it will be for our skeletons. PERIOD!
How You Can Get
What You Need
- Diet: It’s best to maximize calcium through our diets. The leading calcium-rich foods are dairy (milk, cheese, yogurt) and dark, green leafy vegetables (spinach, kale, broccoli). The veggies don’t have as much calcium content per serving as dairy, but are good for those who are lactose intolerant, vegans or vegetarians.
Few foods contain significant amounts of Vitamin D naturally, but salmon, eggs and butter are among the foods fortified with vitamin D.
When we were in the UK, we found calcium-rich Cal-in+ yogurts and dairy drinks, which also contain 100% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin D! The yogurt is yummy as a snack or mixed with granola for breakfast. We heard it’s coming to the US soon.
- Supplements: The amount of calcium we should take in a supplement depends on our age, sex and dietary history (are you a vegan or lactose intolerant, for example). Adults under age 50 need 1,000 mg of calcium from all sources every day. Adults age 50 and older need 1,200 mg of calcium from all sources every day.
Doctors recommends taking at least 1,000 to 2,000 iu of vitamin D3 a day. Note: The D3 in calcium supplements or multivitamins is typically a small dose and generally not enough.
- The Best Exercises: Weight lifting is beneficial, according to a lot of studies, but if you’re not inclined to do that, do calisthenics, biking or jogging. The thing is, just get off the couch. Use your arms, your back and your legs to physically do things.
Stretching is important because it puts stress and strain on the bones, resulting in improved muscle tone, muscle strength, flexibility, coordination and balance, which can prevent falls that can lead to debilitating fractures.
So get up from behind your computer right this minute and start giving your bones the attention they deserve. Work them, feed them and keep them in line and they’ll give you all the support you deserve.