Preventing injuries is always the preferable option to healing an injury and there are so many things you can do to help to avoid developing a problem! Taking care of your bones through optimal nutrition is a huge factor when it comes to avoiding injury. However, the importance of exercise for optimum bone health should also not be overlooked! When it comes to maintaining and building the density of your bones, it is essential that you understand the difference between muscle-strengthening exercises and weight-bearing exercises.
Muscle strengthening exercises are defined as those where you have to use your body or a weight. This can also include other forms of resistance against gravity. The result of muscle strengthening exercises is stronger, more well-defined muscles. Common activities in this category are lifting free weights, using weight machines or using your own body to do things like press-ups. Pilates and yoga also fall into this category, and when practiced regularly they can help to improve strength as well as flexibility.
Weight-bearing exercises are those that utilise activities which require you to work against gravity whilst keeping your body in the upright position. When it comes to weight-bearing exercises, they can either be high-impact or low-impact.
Regularly doing high-impact weight-bearing exercises can help to keep your bones strong whilst also building them up. If you have broken a bone at some point in your life, or you know that you are already at risk of osteoporosis, then it will more than likely not be a good idea for you to participate in this kind of exercise. If neither of these things are applicable to you then this is certainly an activity that you should partake in. Examples of high-impact weight-bearing exercises include hiking, jogging, jumping rope, tennis, aerobics and dancing. A couple of hours of any of these activities throughout the week can soon bring positive benefits. Low-impact weight-bearing exercises are arguably the best alternative for those who cannot undertake the high-impact variety. Examples of this kind of exercise include walking at a fast speed, low-impact aerobics and stair-stepper machines.
If you feel that you are at particular risk of injuring yourself whilst exercising, then you might want to consider non-impact exercises instead. Non-impact exercises are things such as Tai Chi or simple posture exercises. These will serve to lower your general risk of injury whilst also slowly building up the strength of your bones.
Remember, a new exercise regime should always be approached slowly and with care. Do not rush into anything too strenuous and do not push yourself past what you know your body to be capable of. If you do, then you could end up doing more harm than good! It never hurts to check in with your doctor first to get some professional guidance.
Eating for bone health is not a complicated concept and you can easily tailor your diet without much effort. Consuming an adequate amount of calcium and vitamin D will be the best thing you can do for your bones in terms of your diet. Although it is arguably most important to get an adequate amount of both of these things as a child, it is also helpful to continue doing so throughout your life. Additionally, if you do develop osteoporosis in your later years, calcium and vitamin D can help to protect your body against the risk of fractures associated with this disease.
Calcium supports the structure of your bones, as well as your teeth. It is found in many staple foods so if you already eat a healthy diet then you should not have to worry about this too much. Kale, broccoli and oranges are great plant-based sources of calcium and are easy to consume regularly. Kale also has many other great health benefits which you can click here to read all about!
Vitamin D helps your body to absorb calcium as well as promoting the growth and maintenance of your bones. Exposure to sunlight will naturally provide your body with vitamin D, but you can also boost your intake through dietary sources. If you are not lucky enough to be surrounded by sunshine then aim to include cod liver oil, mushrooms, whole grains, tofu and eggs in your diet on a regular basis. Taking vitamin D supplements is also a great idea and can help to keep your levels steady.
The combination of a regular exercise and a healthy diet is the best way to keep your entire body healthy, not just your bones. As we age it is particularly important to pay attention to our health. Many people simply do not do so, which can quickly cause health problems to develop. If you think that your lifestyle could do with some healthy improvements then start slow and make steady, positive changes. These small steps will quickly equate to larger improvements which you will eventually come to consider as normal. When it comes to your health, you should always find the time to take care of yourself and also to spread these positive ideas to those around you!