Over the course of our lifetimes, the body goes through an incredible amount of changes. At every stage of life, we are constantly experiencing different physical fluctuations. Some of these changes are great, others less favorable. During our older years, one of the unfortunate changes that take place is a reduction in the strength of the skeletal system.
Men and women over the age of 40 begin to experience a decrease in what is known as bone mineral density (BMD). Simply put, this factor describes the strength of the bones throughout the body. While both men and women experience this decrease, women are even more susceptible due to hormonal changes that take place during menopause.
A decrease in bone strength increases an individual’s risk of sustaining fractures through a fall or other injury. For the older population, this form of injury can severely decrease overall function and mobility, opening the door for many other health conditions.
In this article, we will be discussing three tips that you can implement in your lifestyle to minimize bone loss and allow you to maintain a high level of function well into your older years.
Physical Activity Is A Must
The human body is incredibly efficient at responding to certain stimuli and making adaptations accordingly. The skeletal system is a great example of this response. Activities that place stress on bones, such as weight bearing and resistance exercises, let the body know that these structures need to be strengthened in order to manage the increased stress. Therefore, bones actually become stronger and more fortified when subjected to repetitive stress.
Physical activity is essential for individuals of all ages, but particularly the elderly population. In order to maintain skeletal system strength, it is important to give your body a reason to maintain bone mineral density.
Fortunately, placing stress on your bones does not require a lot of vigorous training sessions or heavy weight lifting. Simple activities such as jogging or a brisk walk, biking and light-moderate intensity resistance training will allow your bones to maintain their integrity.
Adequate Intake Of Vitamin D
Another way of making sure your bones retain their strength later in life is by making sure you are getting enough vitamin D in your diet. This vitamin actually improves the ability of the digestive system to absorb calcium from food. We will cover the importance of calcium later in this discussion but maximizing the amount of calcium that your body can absorb through adequate vitamin D intake is a must.
There are several ways to increase your intake of vitamin D. The first and most obvious way is by consuming foods that contain this vitamin. Fatty fish such as tuna and salmon, egg yolks and cheese are all viable sources of vitamin D. You can also turn to vitamin D supplements to ensure an adequate intake.
Lastly, getting enough sunlight is important for your body’s natural production of this vitamin. Without getting into specific details, when your skin is exposed to sunlight, a process occurs that actually synthesizes Vitamin D inside the body.
And Of Course, Calcium
Calcium is probably the most widely known mineral when it comes to strengthening bones. This hard substance comprises much of the skeletal tissue and provides strength and stability to the entire skeletal system.
Given that the skeleton is the primary storage location for calcium inside the body, a regulatory process occurs when the body’s calcium levels experience a decrease. Basically, when your body detects an inadequate amount of calcium where it is required, it will begin to pull this mineral from the skeletal system. This causes your bones to become weaker and more susceptible to fracture.
Other than utilizing calcium supplements, many dietary sources such as milk and dairy products, soybeans and collard greens can also provide your body with the calcium it needs in order to prevent obtaining this mineral through the skeletal system.