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Lifestyle Spot Check: Are Your Daily Habits Crippling Your Bones?

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Bones & Joints related image Photo: Getty Images

If you are active, maintain a healthy body weight, and eat a well-balanced diet, you are already on the road to keeping your bones healthy. However, life has a way of, well, sort of getting in the way at times, and our lack of attendance to some relatively simple lifestyle habits can greatly affect the health of our bones.

Although I exercise regularly, at least once, if not twice, a day, I do know I could stand some improvement in the nutrition arena. I have never fancied myself a dietitian, so a “good” breakfast for me might mean eating the last piece of my son’s Pop Tart or downing half a Diet Coke with a piece of toast. I tend to always be on the go, so sitting down and actually enjoying a meal is a rare occasion in and of itself.

If your diet does not include four servings of calcium-rich foods, you could potentially harm your bones. There exists a solid relationship between lifetime calcium intake and bone density. If you consume less than 600 milligrams of calcium per day, which is roughly the equivalent to two glasses of milk, you remain at a high risk for osteoporosis. Not a fan of milk myself, I do eat a fair amount of cheese, but I probably need to calculate if the amount I consume meets these guidelines.

Do you get out in the sun? Sure, in the winter months, it may seem too cold to head outside, but you need the vitamin D exposure from the sun year-round, which is why I still run outdoors during the winter months. Vitamin D from the sun is essential for calcium absorption. The sun actually causes our skin cells to manufacture the vitamin. Because many of us will not brave the cold winter winds to get the necessary sun exposure, it is important that we get enough of this crucial vitamin through our foods or supplements. Also, remember that as we age, our body’s ability to make vitamin D is greatly reduced.

Do you enjoy fresh fruits and veggies? I am not a big fan of fruit, but I do like my vegetables…especially covered in melted cheese! (Hey! A win-win…veggies with cheese…both have calcium!) Women who eat a healthy variety of fruits and vegetables have a higher bone density.

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