This week (23rd – 29th of August) is Healthy Bones Action Week!
Bones are useful for providing structure to our bodies, protect vital organs and allowing us to move around. As our bones constantly break down and build new bone tissue, it’s essential that we maintain and support our bones to be strong and healthy.
Did you know there are 206 bones in our bodies? The smallest bone we have in the stapes in our ear and the largest is the femur in our leg.
There are 3 main areas to strengthen our bones and maintain their health:
Increasing Calcium Intake in our Diets
Around 99% of the calcium in our body is found in our bones. They act like a calcium store, allowing us to save calcium for when we need it. For example, if we don’t eat enough calcium to maintain blood levels, cells within the body called osteoclasts will break down the bone to release more calcium into the blood. This can weaken our bones and make us susceptible to health conditions such as osteoporosis.
So how much do we need?
- In general, adults are recommended to consume 1000 milligrams of calcium per day to maintain bone strength.
- As we age our calcium intake should increase to 1,300 milligrams per day (over 50 years old for women and 70 years old for men). This is because less calcium is absorbed by our intestines and more calcium is excreted from our bodies.
What foods can we get calcium from?
Certain food groups contain more calcium than others. For example, dairy foods such as milk, cheese and yoghurt generally contain more calcium. Other sources of calcium include: seafood, vegetables (such as cucumber, kale, broccoli), nuts and seeds, fruits (such as oranges, strawberries, dates) and others such as eggs, chickpeas and soybeans.
Weight Bearing Exercise
Bones benefit from a certain amount of strain and impact placed on them.
Specific types of exercises work best to keep our bones healthy. These are:
- Weight bearing exercises such as jogging, basketball, impact aerobics and climbing the stairs
- Resistance training such as using weights
Also, doing balance exercises such as standing on one leg and stepping over obstacles can help to prevent falls which can lead to fractures in the bone.
Vitamin D is essential for the absorption of calcium into our bodies by the intestines.
The main source of vitamin D is sunlight. Only a small amount of sunlight is needed to get your daily dose of vitamin D, especially during summer time when the UV Index is higher. Everyone is different but a few minutes on most days during summer or 2-3 hours per week in winter is all you need.
Monitor your calcium intake, try some weight bearing exercises and get some safe sun to keep your bones healthy today!
Book an appointment with our chiropractor to maintain your bone health here or call us on 9651 5559.
Find more of our health tips here.
Dairy Australia. 2021. https://www.dairy.edu.au/healthy-bones/bonehealth
Healthy Bones Australia. https://healthybonesaustralia.org.au/your-bone-health/calcium/