5 NATURAL (& EFFECTIVE) WAYS TO BUILD STRONGER BONES
Did you know that your bones are living tissue? They contain blood vessels, nerves and bone marrow, which is where blood cells are formed?
Our body’s natural cycle of bone renewal
Your bones are constantly breaking down and rebuilding themselves, the construction of our bones never ends, it is a constant cycle of renewal as old bone is broken down and new bone is built.
If our bones did not repair and reinforce themselves, we would suffer from broken bones on a daily basis.
When we are under the age of 20, our bodies form more bone than we lose. The majority of adults will reach their peak bone mass by the age of 25. Which is really young! The trick is to focus on building your bone mass when you are younger and maintaining these healthy lifestyle choices as you get older.
But it’s never too late to lead a healthy life!
Losing bone mass as we get older
When we are around the age of 30, we start to lose more bone than our bodies create. If not enough bone mass is created when we are younger or if bone loss occurs when we are older, then our risk of fragile bones and osteoporosis is increased.
This may sound rather overwhelming, but the thing is, there are a number of diet and lifestyle changes you can make to build strong and healthy bones and maintain them as you get older.
Natural ways to build healthy bones
You may already know that calcium is great for building healthy and strong bones. Calcium is, in fact, a vital nutrient for building bones and slowing down the pace of bone loss.
However, calcium cannot work alone in promoting healthy bones. Some experts even suggest that over-consumption of calcium or dairy products (a great source of calcium) may be bad for your body.
Luckily, it’s easy to ensure you are getting the right amount of calcium.
How much calcium do I need?
The recommended daily intake for calcium is 1000mg for adults up to the age of 50 and 1,200mg for those who are older than 50, as this is when bone loss starts to speed up.
As we get older, our intestines start to absorb LESS calcium from our food and the kidneys also seem to be less effective at conserving calcium. Because of this, your body might start to take calcium from your bones (Yikes! Somebody please pass the milk!).
The best way to ensure you are getting enough calcium is through food.
What foods are rich in calcium?
- Milk and Cheese
- Sardines and Canned Salmon
- Beans and Lentils
- Whey Protein
- Some Leafy Greens
2. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is essential to promoting healthy bones. Vitamin D is basically the Robin to the Batman that is calcium.
Vitamin D helps your body to absorb calcium.
You can get vitamin D from food sources and supplements. Sunlight is also a great way to get a good dose of this amazing vitamin. Your body needs roughly 1000 IU of vitamin D daily.
If you can, try to spend roughly 5 to 30 minutes in the sun, between 10 am and 3 pm, twice a week. Make sure your face, arms, legs and lack soak up the rays without sunscreen. If you have fair skin, then limit this exposure to 10 minutes.
Make sure you perform strength training and resistance training. Have a look at our excellent blog post: 1 PIECE OF EQUIPMENT. 10 MOVES. ALL THE SWEAT to get you started!
Here’s another goodie: 8 REASONS WHY EVERY WOMAN SHOULD LIFT WEIGHTS. Did you know that women have a higher risk of osteoporosis compared to men? Even more reason to hit the gym!
Moving your body through active exercises helps to build more muscle and build strong and healthy bones.
A recent study also found that aerobic exercises such as jogging, walking and dancing helped improve calcium absorption in the upper body and upper thighs.
Make sure you are getting enough protein. In fact, 50% of our bones are made up of protein. Studies have found that a low protein diet decreases calcium absorption and might also affect the rate at which our bones form and break down.
There isn’t much research on the effects of collagen as yet, but some early evidence suggests that taking a collagen supplement can help protect your bone health.
Collagen is one of the main proteins found in your bones. It contains vital amino acids (proline, glycine and lysine) which help promote bone health and build strong muscles.
How healthy are your bones?
It’s time to grab your running shoes, hit the gym, improve your diets and increase your supplement intake.