Think about the last time that you broke a bone, if you have. What caused it? How serious was it? How long did it take you to recover? 

Believe it or not, there are anatomical factors at play when you have bone injuries, especially as you get older. One of the major variables is your bone density, or the measure of minerals in your bones. As you age past 25, your bone mass begins to decrease, leaving you susceptible to sprains and breaks in key areas like your hips and wrists. Over time, this can also lead to weakened or thinned bones known as osteoporosis. 

Despite these challenges, there are many dietary and physical ways to maintain your bone density as you continue to age. Some of these methods include: 

Increasing Your Vitamin D and Calcium Intake
Vitamin D and calcium are two nutrients that go hand-in-hand in terms of intake and use. Between Vitamin D’s ability to protect your bones and calcium’s structural prowess, this dynamic duo should be an important part of your diet. 

To boost your Vitamin D levels, you can spend more time outside and get it directly from the sun. Calcium can be found in vegetables like broccoli and kale along with seafood and dried fruit. To get both in your system, try adding more dairy products to your diet, specifically milk and yogurt. 

Decreasing Caffeine and Alcohol Use
Adding to your diet is one thing, but taking away from your diet can also have positive effects on your bone density. Two common items appear in recreational use: caffeine and alcohol. Both of these substances have been linked in some studies to impact your bone density to various degrees. Some doctors have argued that caffeine takes calcium away from bones, while others have considered heavy alcohol use to increase cortisol levels to the point of bone reduction. 

While these studies need further testing, you can take the preventative step by reducing the amount of coffee, soda, and alcoholic drinks you consume each week. Adding in a calcium-rich diet as mentioned above while weaning yourself off these items can help keep your bones in optimal shape. 

Exercise Weekly
Beyond dietary options, there are other ways to maintain your bone density as you get older. Physical fitness is a huge component of bone health as it helps keep the surrounding muscles strong. High-impact weight-bearing exercises in particular can actually aid in building bone structure, which is critical in your later years. 

A workout routine based on safe repetitions and a reasonable load is an excellent way to improve your bone health. Aside from general weight lifting, you can also add in high-impact movements like hiking, jogging, and tennis to keep it interesting while still staying healthy.

Quit Smoking
The effects of smoking are well known by this point. Heart disease, lung cancer, and COPD are just a few of the many consequences of long-term smoking use. What you may not be aware of is how smoking affects bone density over time. Between the reduction of blood supply to bones, slowdown of osteoblasts, and decrease in calcium absorption, smokers are at a high risk for osteoporosis and any accompanying injuries. 

Quitting smoking can prevent these side-effects to your bones from continuing. Be prepared to have some form of nicotine replacement therapy in place if needed as well as a strong support group to help you in this endeavor. Additional assistance can be given at 1-800-QUIT-NOW or by your primary physician.

Develop Good Sleeping Habits
Sleep impacts your bone health in two ways: duration and posture. Sleep deprivation is often correlated with low bone density as your body is not properly healing itself after a long day of work and movement. As a result, a lifetime of staying up late and waking early can have profound effects on your skeletal health. In addition, poor sleeping postures can throw off your musculoskeletal alignment, causing chronic pain and other effects later on that also impact your sleep time. 

By getting a proper eight hours of sleep per night, you’ll be able to mitigate these problems. Gradually build up to a proper bed time and avoid sugary foods and drinks before bed. Many of the previous tips above (i.e. diet, exercise, reducing your alcohol and caffeine) can make this even easier. As far as sleeping posture, avoid falling asleep on your stomach and settle for alignment-friendly positions like your side or your back with proper support.

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Sheridan, WY 82801

Phone: 312-967-2566
*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
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