Strengthening Bones

by Rebekah Scott
(last updated May 27, 2010)

Everyone knows that calcium is vital to the building strong bones. But not everyone realizes that the calcium inside bones needs to constantly be replaced as it metabolized by the body. Bones become weaker and more brittle with age as calcium is drawn out of the bones more quickly than it is being replaced. People with weak or brittle bones may have a hard time absorbing calcium in their bodies, but it's still a good idea to eat calcium rich foods such as dark leafy vegetables, nuts, salmon, and some dairy products. Spinach and other foods that are rich in Vitamin K are also helpful in building bone strength. Vitamin D also promotes bone health. Many of the food listed above also naturally contain Vitamin D, but did you know that you can also absorb Vitamin D from the sun? Spending as little as ten to fifteen minutes outside without sunscreen on will help you gain a good amount of this bone strengthening vitamin. But don't stay in the sun without protection for too long, as that will leave you susceptible to harmful UV rays. Though it may be hard to kick a soda habit, you should definitely consider it. Studies show that for some reason, regular consumption of soda – even diet and caffeine free versions -- is damaging to bones. Soda just isn't good for anyone for a variety of reasons, so why not completely cut it out of your diet? If plain water and milk just won't do, try adding some zip to your water by adding lemon or lime juice, or buying flavored varieties at the store. Studies have also shown that weight-bearing exercises are good for bones. Like muscles, bones can grow stronger when an appropriate amount of stress is placed on them. Jogging and walking are good examples of weight-bearing exercises, as are step aerobics and running stairs. Don't forget to add some strength training into the mix. Bones are also strengthened as they fight against the pull of gravity. Pushups and arm and leg presses should do the trick, but any of the strength training exercises that are part of a regular workout would work as well. As always, early prevention is the best way to address health issues. If these tips are followed before bone health is an issue, then the likelihood of developing a problem in old age will greatly decrease. But even after bones lose some of their strength, these tips can help you rebuild and prevent any further damage from occurring to your bones.

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