Bones and joints are essential for a lot of bodily functions. They are vital to mobility, support, protection of major organs, and production of red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets in the bone marrow to name a few.
However, bones and joints changes as the body ages. Bone mass and density levels decreases and mineral loss takes place as you grow older. Moreover, bone cell loss is higher compared to its production as a person grows older. This is the reason why the risk of osteoporosis increases as a person ages.
Since the skeletal system plays an important role to overall health, you should take the necessary steps to take care of it. Here are four ways to do so:
1. Include Calcium in your Diet
Calcium is essential to building strong bones and joints, so you need to incorporate it in your diet. The good news is, you need not look far because a lot of food items are enriched with calcium. Dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheese are sources that are naturally rich in calcium. If you are lactose intolerant, you can go for non-dairy sources like green leafy vegetables, sardines, or soy milk and fortified products such as cereals and protein bars.
Supplements can also be a good way to boost your calcium levels, especially if you’re not getting enough of it from food sources. You can consult your physician to determine the right type and amount of supplement for you. The recommended daily intake of calcium is 1,000 milligrams, and 1,200 mg for those who are 50 and older.
2. Bask in some Sunshine
When your body absorbs sunlight, it produces vitamin D, which is essential in calcium absorption. If you’re anxious about damaging your skin due to sun rays, don’t fret. All you need is an average of 10 to 15 minutes of sun exposure for three times in a week to produce the amount of vitamin D that your body needs. You can also use sunscreen to avoid skin damage.
Vitamin D can also be found in food sources such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, and egg yolks.
If going out in the sun or getting vitamin D from natural sources is hard for you, you can turn to vitamin D supplements to get the recommended intake. The recommended daily intake of vitamin D is 600 to 800 IUs.
Bones become stronger when they are active, so take time to perform exercises that can build and strengthen your bones such as brisk walking, dancing, aerobics, swimming, and biking. Working out also avoids obesity, which can be harmful to the bones and joints.
Before you enter a workout or exercise routine, consult with your doctor first. Some exercises can worsen existing conditions such as arthritis.
4. Practice Good Posture
Bad posture habits such as slouching, cocking your neck to the side and wearing high heels can be harmful to your bones and joints and can contribute to bone and joint degeneration overtime.
Be mindful of how you perform activities and make sure that you maintain good posture as you do them. Some of the good posture habits to maintain are distributing weight between two feet while standing, sleeping on pillows of appropriate height, and wearing comfortable shoes and clothes.
Being able to take part in different activities is fundamental to living a fruitful life, and maintaining good bone health is essential to this. So whether young and developing your bones or aging and trying to preserve your skeletal system, practice these four ways to keep your bones and joints in great shape.