Your bones are the body’s framework. They keep you upright, assist with movement, and protect your internal organs.
Did you know that your body is constantly building, breaking down, and rebuilding your skeleton? As you get older, the bone rebuilding process slows down, making bones weaker and more vulnerable to fractures.
At Orthopedic & Wellness in Frederick, Waldorf, and Germantown, Maryland, Dr. Ojedapo Ojeyemi and Dr. Matthew Roh specialize in treating conditions that affect the musculoskeletal system, which includes your bones.
In this month’s blog, we share some hacks you can incorporate into your routine to help you keep your bones strong and healthy.
1. Get enough calcium
Calcium is the main mineral in your bones. This strong mineral gives your bones its strength and structure and serves as a source of calcium for other body functions like muscle contractions.
You need an adequate supply of calcium to keep your bones healthy and strong: Adults need 1,000-1,200 milligrams of this mineral each day. Milk, yogurt, and fortified juices are good sources of calcium.
You can also take a calcium supplement to meet your needs. Consult with your primary care provider before starting any dietary supplements so they can provide guidance on what type of supplement is best for you and how much calcium you need.
2. Add sources of vitamin D
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin found in very few foods, such as fatty fish and egg yolks. Your body also makes vitamin D through sun exposure. While you only need about 15 minutes of sun a day to make enough vitamin D, too much sun may put you at risk of skin cancer.
Why do you need vitamin D for bone health? Because this fat-soluble vitamin helps your body absorb calcium. Talk to your primary care provider about your vitamin D needs and how best to get it.
3. Exercise regularly
Like your muscles, your bones need a good workout to stay strong. Not just any type of workout, but weight-bearing aerobic exercises that stress the bones — for example, walking or jogging. Muscle-building exercises (lifting weights, body resistance exercises) and yoga also benefit bone health.
4. Eat a balanced diet
Calcium and vitamin D are essential for strong bones, but they aren’t the only nutrients your bones and body need to stay healthy. Eating a balanced diet filled with a wide range of foods from all of the food groups ensures your body gets all the nutrients it needs for good health.
For your bones, that means foods rich in magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin A, and vitamin K.
5. Stop smoking
Tobacco products are bad for your bones. Smoking increases your risk of osteoporosis, a bone disease that makes your bones porous and weak and vulnerable to fracture. Many people with osteoporosis develop vertebral compressions (collapsing of the spinal bone), causing back pain that may require spine surgery.
Smoking affects bone health by decreasing blood supply so the bone tissue doesn’t get the nutrients necessary for good health. Additionally, nicotine in cigarettes decreases production of the bone-forming cells (osteoblasts), so your body is breaking down old bone faster than it can replace it with new bone.
The health and strength of your bones depends on you. And now is the best time to start strengthening your bones. If you have concerns about bone health or want a customized bone-strengthening plan, we’re here to help.
Call our office or book an appointment online today with our orthopedic and pain management experts.