More and more, we hear about keeping bones healthy and strong. Celebrities promote pharmaceuticals to prevent bone loss and increase density. What can you do NOW so that you can minimize the need for drug alternatives in later years? It is true that our bones lose strength and mass as we get older. Why wait for that bone density test when you’re 50 years old to confirm a problem? Keeping in mind that good nutrition and consistent exercise applies to all ages, here are some tips for keeping bones strong in your 20’s and 30’s.
Women in Your 20’s
This is when we turn 21, right? The social scene revolves around nightlife and the bars. Just don’t make it a habit. And, although you’re not concerned with hip fractures that your grandmother considers or the loss of bone density that's on your mother’s mind, this is the decade to start working on maintaining bone strength.
1. Avoid smoking. Smoking cigarettes hampers the work of bone-building cells and increases your risk of developing osteoporosis. Second hand smoke is nobody's friend either!
2. Exercise with Good Sense. Weight bearing exercise and activities, even simple activities like walking, is strongly recommended throughout your life. Exercise is great, but, Nathan Wei, MD, clinical director of the Arthritis and Osteoporosis Center of Maryland, recommends that obsessing about exercise to get that fashion model body is not good. He says women who engage in extreme exercise habits—to the point where they develop the loss of menstrual cycle—trick their bodies into thinking they are going into menopause, a major risk factor for osteoporosis.
3. Watch your weight. During your 20s, you may only be concerned with keeping a slim body, but a healthy body weight should be your goal. Being underweight is a high risk factor for osteoporosis. Find your body mass index (BMI) and if it is 18.5 kg/m2 or lower, you are underweight. Check yours at: www.WomansDay.com/BMI.
4. Take vitamin D. This vitamin is important at every age because it aids the body in the absorption of calcium. Because our lives keep us indoors most of the time, we don’t get the sun that we need.