- Aging & Longevity
How to Protect Your Bones
Sign Of Age Catching Up
This message is most urgent for those who are over 50 years of age. The most obvious change in our body is that we start getting “stiffer and slower” over the years. This has something to do with our bones. So this article is about “How to protect your bones”.
When a person is young, health matters can take backstage. But when one advances in age, the backstage turns into the main stage. Health issues take priorities over other matters when age is catching up. As a rule of thumb, I consider the threshold of becoming “old” to be 50. You are free to refute. However, everyone can agree that as one advances in age, one’s health will gradually be compromised. This is the inevitable sad fact of life.
From my personal observation, the first sign of trouble that the body is not right, comes from body aches and pain. The most common complaints are back pain and leg pain. Most pain problems usually involve either nerves or bones. This article is about how to protect our bones.
Onset Of Osteoporosis
Our body systems continue to renew and rejuvenate themselves. No exception to our skeletal frame. Our bones undergo continuous rebuilding, maintaining a healthy balance between breaking down bone tissues and rebuilding new ones. With the process of aging, this bone tissue depleting-rebuilding equilibrium gradually becomes unstable in favour of greater depleting rather than the rebuilding process. When this negative imbalance prolongs over a period, the bone density decreases, resulting in the onset the bone disease called osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a bone disease whereby the bone density is reduced causing the bones to become brittle. Thus the bones will become weakened and there will be greater risk of broken bones and fractures. For the elderly people, osteoporosis becomes more dangerous, as the incidence of having broken bones and fractures becomes greater.
Eight Ways To Strengthen Your Bones
Good health usually comes with a bit of effort. Some people are naturally healthy because of their excellent genes. However, most of us are just average normal humans; and we need to make that extra effort to ensure that we maintain our good health. These are the 8 ways which will help you strengthen and maintain your healthy bones.
1.Regular Physical Exercise : There is no good excuse for not exercising, unless it is too late. By “too late” I mean when the person is too weak or for some medical reasons that he or she is now not able to do any physical exercise. This will be a sorry state. It is better to prevent this from happening to us. The only way is to start regular daily physical exercise.
What type of exercise? There are many fitness gurus out there recommending the appropriate exercise for us. But I think we just need to use our common sense to adequately exercise our physical body. To each his own, so to say. The most common type of physical exercise is brisk walking, swimming, cycling, light weightlifting, and qigong. If you are interested to know more about physical exercise, especially for those 50 and above, please read my article “How to stay healthy for people over 50”.
2.Increase Calcium Intake : The first thing that comes to mind when calcium is concerned is milk. But milk is not for me. You can read my article about this under the same title “Milk is not good for me”. There are better options to increase our calcium intake. Other better natural sources of calcium can be found in green leafy vegetables, soya, sardine, fruits, seeds and nuts.
In our Asian markets, we can find lots of green leafy vegetables, those more familiar with westerners are spinach, kailan, kale, pakchoy and water cress. Other more popular vegetables are okra, broccoli, cabbage and the many types of beans. Fruits with lots of calcium are oranges, dried figs, kiwifruits and prunes. Seeds and nuts are flax seeds, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds, Brazil nuts and hazel nuts. Nuts contain magnesium which helps in the process of absorbing calcium. Sunflower seeds contain zinc, a key mineral for maintaining strong bones.
3.Maintain Adequate Intake Of Omega-3 : Apart from keeping the bones strong, omega-3 fatty acids can lower blood pressure and reduce depression. It can also improve cardiovascular and circulatory health, and reduce age-related dementia and eye disorder. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in cold water oily fishes like herrings, sardines, mackerels, salmons and cod. Flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts and soybeans also have large amount of omega-3.
The most convenient way to take omega-3 is by way of omega-3 health supplements, usually in soft-gel form. The recommended dosage per day is 1000mg omega-3 consisting of 600mg EPA and 400mg DHA.
4.Reduce Alcohol Intake : Note that I said “reduce” and not “stop”. So for all those who enjoy moderate alcohol consumption, this is not too much to ask for. Actually long term excessive alcohol consumption has proven to do overall harm to our body. As for the adverse effect on the bones, it is found that long term alcohol abuse contributes to bone loss.
5.Don’t Smoke : Well, well, need I say more? Much has been written on this topic. I too, have written an article on it titled “How to stop smoking effectively”. Cigarette smoking damages bone density, apart from causing the dreaded lung cancer. The choice is yours. It is up to you. Take heed.
6.Reduce Red Meat : Redmeat in traditional culinary terminology means meat which is red when raw and not white when cooked. Red meats include meats mostly from adult mammals, notably cows, goats and sheep. Their saturated fats and cholesterol content are not conducive to our health. Reducing the consumption of red meats will reduce the risk of contacting heart diseases, diabetes and the much dreaded cancer. New studies have come up to suggest that long term regular consumption of red meats may shorten lifespan.
7.Adequate Exposure To Sunshine : Now, this is one area you need to be very careful. Too much sun exposure can cause skin damage which may lead to skin cancer. However, we need adequate sunshine to remain healthy. So, use your own discretion not to get sunburn. In temperate countries you can afford a few minutes longer of sunshine exposure. But in my tropical location, one has to be very careful not to over-expose oneself to the very harsh and hot direct sunlight. Be that as it may, sunshine is the best source of vitamin D which helps to maintain bone density.
8.Last Line Of Defence : Or is it first line of defence? It depends on your health regime priorities. Yes, health supplements. I am a believer of taking adequate health supplements. I wrote an article on this topic too, titled “Essential Health Supplements To Maintain Good Health”.
Well, good health to you, and healthy bones too!
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