Be good to your bones, and they’ll be good to go for years to come. Sounds easy enough, right? Actually, you could be damaging your bones without even knowing it. Here are five harmful behaviors – from super-bad to not-so-terrible – along with tips for doing the right thing.
How bad? 5
Leading an inactive lifestyle is the worst thing you can do to your bones. Like your muscles, your bones become weaker if you don’t use them.
“Try adding some physical activity to your day,” says Roxanne Cote, the clinical nutrition manager at Beaufort Memorial. Aerobic activity like walking, biking or gardening is good exercise. Strength-training activities are important too, but you don’t have to be a bodybuilder. Try push-ups, sit-ups, squats or simply walking up and down stairs.
How bad? 4
Cigarette smoking is bad for your blood vessels, which supply nutrients to your bones (along with other organs in your body). As fewer nutrients get through, bones become weaker and, if your break one, healing is more difficult. Plus, smoking increases the rate of bone loss.
How bad? 4
Eating an unhealthy diet isn’t good for any part of your body. If you don’t eat well, you may gain weight, which can lead to type 2 diabetes. And diabetes makes it harder to recover from bone fractures. Cote agrees that proper nutrition is key to maintaining a healthy weight. “One of the healthiest things you can do for your weight is to eat three sensible meals per day,” she advises. “Some people are still only eating one or two.”
Many people don’t get enough of the nutrients that promote strong bones, primarily calcium and vitamin D. To boost your calcium intake, eat more dairy products, kale, broccoli and calcium-enriched products, such as cereal and orange juice. Foods high in vitamin D include milk, eggs, salmon and shrimp.
Not Getting Regular Checkups
How bad? 3
Without routine visits to your doctor, you might have an undiagnosed health conditionthat contributes to poor bone health, such as low calcium levels. If you are older than 65, it’s important to ask your doctor about a bone density test. If you’ve ever broken a bone, you may need one sooner. If your bones are losing density, your health care professional can help halt or even reverse that trend with lifestyle recommendations and medication.
How bad? 1
One thing’s for sure – drinking soda offers almost zero health benefits. But is it bad for your bones? Earlier, there was some concern that phosphoric acid, an ingredient in many kinds of soda, would decrease the amount of calcium available to your bones. However, some recent studies show that’s really not the case.
A healthy lifestyle can make a big difference in the future of your health, and the LifeFit Wellness Center at Beaufort Memorial can help you modify your lifestyle and reach your health improvement goals.