Your body relies on an intricate system of connected organs, tissues, and other elements to function. One of the key cogs in this machine is the skeletal structure. Your bones are responsible for holding the structure of the rest of your body together and supporting its weight with the help of muscles and joints. Without bones, we would not be able to move around.
As you age, your bone health can be one of the first areas where deterioration sets in. As bone density decreases, breaks become more common. Elderly individuals are at a much higher risk of injury because their bones are becoming more brittle and likely to break. In severe cases of osteoporosis, their bones become even weaker. This is why so many individuals should care about preserving their bone health for as long as possible.
There are several strategies that you can adopt now to maintain care of your skeletal structure and optimize your overall health.
Physical activity is almost always beneficial for overall health. For your bones, engaging in exercise that is weight-bearing can help improve bone density as well as grow muscles that can protect the skeletal structure.
Types of weight-bearing exercises include dancing, jogging, climbing stairs, and low-impact sports like tennis. These activities can help strengthen the bones in your lower body and core, as well as the surrounding muscles, to prevent rapid loss of density and structure. If you have trouble finding the energy to add new exercises to your daily routine, try these natural energy boosters to get you started.
Your bone marrow is responsible for creating red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. These are key elements that can transport oxygen throughout the body via the bloodstream, support the immune system, and help with clotting. Your bone cells require nutrients themselves to carry out this vital function of creating blood cells, which means that a balanced diet should become a priority.
Foods that are rich in calcium, vitamin D, and magnesium can positively impact your bone health. Dairy products can be a great source of calcium. Fish provide large amounts of vitamin D. For magnesium, try adding whole grains or dark green and leafy vegetables.
To promote further bone health, you can take vitamins and minerals as supplements to support your healthy diet as well.
Avoid Tobacco Use and Heavy Drinking
Research shows that substance abuse such as heavy tobacco smoking can lead to the premature weakening of the bones. Additionally, excessive drinking can do the same, potentially resulting in osteoporosis. There are other prescription medications that can have side effects that are harmful to bone health as well.
Whether you use over-the-counter drugs, are a heavy smoker, or drink excessively, consider cutting some of these unhealthy habits out to ensure longevity for your bones.
Allow Full Recovery After Bone-Related Injuries
Let’s say you have received a bone fracture at a young age while playing a sport. That area of your skeletal structure could be compromised for some time after the injury occurred, and this effect is compounded the older you get.
Even though bones are constantly discarding older cells and tissues as new ones are created, a weakened area from an injury could cause more issues in the future if the needed recovery time is not given. Speak with a specialist or your doctor if you think you have a bone injury that is compromising your long-term health to learn the best recovery methods. Even if it is inconvenient to do so, the risks associated with aggravating the injury are not worth it.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
If you are overweight, the added stress that it puts on your skeletal structure can lead to fractures, breaks, or deterioration. The bone cells will have to work harder to maintain the integrity of the bones, using up minerals faster and wearing them down in the process.
Following the other practices of a balanced diet and regular exercise can help you maintain a healthier weight that reduces the wear and tear on the skeleton.
Invest in Your Bone Health Now to Preserve it
It is never too early to start caring about the health of your bones, whether you are 12 years old or 65. However, if you wait too long to adopt the right habits, it could be too late to slow the natural bone deterioration that comes with aging.
By making changes now, you will be able to maintain mobility and strength as you age. Engage in weight-bearing exercises, eat a balanced diet filled with nutrients, avoid substance abuse, give your body time to recover from injuries, and maintain a safe weight to prolong the health of your bones for as long as possible. This should allow you to enjoy life and independence well into old age.