As a nurse, I often think about how my body’s different systems need special attention to remain healthy. As I age, I know I need to take better care of my bones. Here are some tips to help you strengthen your body’s framework.
Your bones are a protective structure. They protect your organs and allow your body to move. But they also anchor your muscles and store calcium. To make your bones hard and dense, your body needs calcium in the bloodstream and that happens with the help of vitamin D.
Your body can’t produce calcium. This important nutrient comes from outside sources, including nuts, dairy products, calcium-fortified foods and leafy green vegetables. Many people take calcium with vitamin D as a supplement to maintain adequate levels in the body. Recommended calcium intake varies by age. Talk with your doctor for details.
Bones deteriorate with age. This can lead to an increased potential for osteoporosis. Although anyone can develop osteoporosis, you’re more at risk if you’re female, an older or aging adult, white or Caucasian, inactive or small in stature. Physically inactive and post-menopausal women also are at risk. The effects of osteoporosis usually are worse in the spine where compression fractures develop among the fragile vertebrae. Hip and wrist fractures also are common.
Calcium and exercise can help. Maintaining adequate levels of calcium is always necessary, but particularly important as we age. Then, it’s been proven that physical activity helps keep our bones healthy. Try walking, dancing or even jumping rope as exercises to help your bones. As always, check with your physician before beginning any intense exercise regime.
More calcium and more activity: your keys to healthy bones at any age.
By Kris Ponto, MSN, RN-BC, RAC-CT
Clinical Nurse Consultant