Our bones help hold us up and contribute to who we are! Without bones, we would have no defined shape, nor would we be able to move. Bones also protect our internal organs, produce blood cells, and both store and release minerals and fats.
Our bones are constantly changing. As old bone breaks down, new bone is made – we call this “bone modeling.” We reach peak bone mass around age 30, and then bone modeling continues, but you lose slightly more bone mass than you gain. Osteoporosis is when bone mass or mineral density decreases, or when the quality or structure changes. This can lead to a decrease in bone strength, which can increase the risk of broken bones. Because of all the important things bones do for us, it’s critical to keep them in good health!
There are several uncontrollable risk factors that contribute to bone health – age, ethnicity, gender, and family history – but there are also some controllable risk factors:
- Physical Activity – Make sure to get exercise during the day and stay moving. Weight-bearing strength training exercise helps build strong bones and muscles, which can help fight off chances of developing osteoporosis.
- Diet – A diet rich in calcium and Vitamin D can help decrease your risk of developing osteoporosis by keeping your bones healthy and strong.
- Smoking – Smoking can keep your body from using the calcium from your diet.
- Alcohol – People who drink more than the recommended intake (1 drink per day for women, and 2 drink per day for men) are at an increased risk for osteoporosis.
What can you do to keep your bones healthy? Look at the list above – focus on adding weight-bearing exercise, a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D, and a healthy lifestyle that does not include smoking or drinking to excess.
Keeping our bones healthy is a vital step in staying strong and independent. Drink your milk, lift your weights, and prevent bone breakage!
“To thrive in life you need three bones: A wish bone, a back bone, and a funny bone!” – Reba McEntire