Five Ways To Help Strengthen Weak Bones
When your bones are weak, it is much harder to do the things you want. You can live in constant fear of injuries and pain. Previously, people thought that once your bones started to lose density and strength, there was nothing that could be done to fix them. However, that isn’t true; with working knowledge and care, people who lack healthy or strong bones can begin to strengthen them.
Below are five tips that can help you to repair your weak bones, and/or prevent them from getting weaker.
Make sure you’re getting enough calcium and vitamin D in your diet
Your bones are constantly being torn down and built up, courtesy of osteoclasts and osteoblasts, living cells in your bones. New bones are made when calcium combines with phosphate and hydroxide. For this reason, calcium, the most abundant mineral in your body, is vital. People who don’t have enough calcium in their diets can fail to make strong bones and teeth. Those without enough vitamin D also may have trouble maintaining healthy bones; vitamin D doesn’t make bone, but it helps to absorb calcium. If you can’t absorb calcium, you can’t repair bones.
Calcium can be found in dairy-rich foods, like milk, yogurt, and cheeses. It is also in dark green leafy vegetables, and fishes like salmon and sardines. Vitamin D isn’t naturally found in a lot of foods, but it can be found in fish and egg yolks, or added to breakfast cereals or milk. It can also be taken in supplement form. Make sure to check with a doctor before dramatically changing your diet or starting a vitamin regimen.
Get some sun
You may not find vitamin D in many foods, but there is one place to get it naturally: outside. Sunlight, interacting with your skin, produces vitamin D in your body. More people are being diagnosed with vitamin D deficiencies. It may seem hard to believe, but the actual amount of time you spend outside may be only a couple of minutes a day. If all you do outside is go from the house to the car, from the parking lot to your work building, the parking lot to your car again, and finally back to your driveway and into your house, you will not have been exposed to enough sunlight to produce adequate vitamin D. An average of 15-20 minutes a day, without sunscreen, can help your body to start making vitamin D, but shouldn’t put your body at risk of sun-related ailments or diseases. People who have sunburns, or a history of melanomas or other skin or sun problems, should talk to a doctor before going out into the sun.
You can do two kinds of exercise to help your bones. High-impact exercise, which would involve running, jumping, high-energy kicks or body contact with hard surfaces, are great for strengthening bones and preventing weakness. However, if bone density has already been lost through osteoporosis or some other cause, high-impact exercise may also multiply the chances of injuries. Weakened bones may not be able to handle that kind of stress. Low-impact exercises are better for people who are trying to repair weak bones. Walking or working out on an elliptical trainer can strengthen your bones while absorbing some of the impact from the movement.
Some medications may help to repair and strengthen bones. Calcium, magnesium and vitamin D supplements, and other over-the-counter bone medications could be taken. If you choose them, make sure you check that the labels read USP (United States Pharmacopeia) to verify their legitimacy. Follow the instructions, and remember that even if they are supplements, too much of anything your body can’t process can be unhealthy. Do your research, and make sure that you know what each drug is supposed to do, and their possible side effects. In some cases, your doctor may prescribe medications to strengthen and repair your bones. Regardless if they are over-the-counter or prescription drugs, make sure your doctor knows about them all.
Cut out smoking and alcohol
Although lack of nutrients and exercise can weaken your bones, there are factors that can damage them. Smoking is one; it releases nicotine and free radicals into your body, which can destroy osteoblasts that form new bones. They can inhibit hormones and attack cells, so that healthy cells in your body are fighting off the free radicals and not helping your bones. Alcohol can be toxic to osteoblasts, and possible liver damage from too much alcohol can hurt calcium and vitamin D processing. Not to mention that drunk people have a higher probability of falling a lot, which can weaken bones by breaking them.
Reducing (or entirely giving up) your smoking and/or drinking can be helpful in regaining bone strength. Bone density doesn’t rebuild itself quickly; even so, when you don’t smoke or drink, you stop adding damage. Your body won’t be fighting the negative side effects of the nicotine and alcohol, and can work on repairing the bones. Generally, when your overall health is good, it’s easier for your body to heal and strengthen any problem areas.
Bone health doesn’t have to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. If you have weak bones, there are steps you can take to help restore strength and health to them. A proper diet, with the necessary minerals and vitamins, gives your body what it needs to form new bones. Exercise and sunlight can strengthen bones and replenish your vitamin D supply. Medications could help to repair bones. Any treatments, exercise plans, or changes in diet should be approved by your doctor before you undertake them.