Boning Up on Bone Health
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Boning Up on Bone Health

Unless you've hit your "funny bone", which isn't so funny, or broken a bone, you probably haven't given much thought to your bones. Those bones are the framework that holds you up, gives you shape, aids movement at the joints, and produces red blood cells in the marrow. Without them, we would be like jellyfish! They also protect internal organs and brain. Healthy bones will give you a long life of service if you take care of them.

Nutrition
Bones need to be fed in order to function well while you do your daily activities. Adequate calcium intake is important. But did you know you also need vitamin D3?  Foods to eat to boost your bone health: milk, yogurt, cheese, dark green leafy veggies, calcium fortified cereals, soy or almond milk enriched, calcium fortified orange juice, broccoli, fish, and eggs. Also adequate natural light exposure is very important since our bodies produce vitamin D.

Taking a calcium supplement with vitamin D3 is a wise move for women. For those of you with osteoporosis or osteopenia, your doctor will recommend specific supplements while possibly giving you a prescription for medication to build your bones.

If you are a cancer patient, bone marrow health is important. Many cancer treatments tax the bone marrow responsible for red blood cell production. Iron rich foods are a good source of nutrition for bone marrow. Ask your doctor which foods are right for you because some may cause problems with your medications. See Caring 4 Cancer.

Strength
Weight bearing exercises like walking, weight lifting, and light impact exercises are helpful for building bone strength. You don't have to lift super heavy to benefit. In fact, women with osteoporosis and osteopenia should lift light. The load placed on your skeletal structure forces the bones to strengthen to support the weight you add to your body. The bones at greatest risk are the spinal column, hips, and legs. If you are a woman with a small bone frame, Caucasian or Asian, and light weight, you are at the greatest risk. However, everyone needs to take care of their bones. Body weight exercises, free weights, and bands are very helpful and easy to do. Ask a fitness professional for exercise recommendations.

Range of Motion
If you have twinges in your hinges, you are likely aware of your bones because of arthritis pain. Range of motion exercises are extremely important, especially if you are over 40; however, everyone can benefit from stretching. There are active stretches which are flowing movements such as arm swings, leg swings, cat arches-cow lows moving your body through it's full range of motion. Each of these should be done 30-60 seconds each. Static stretches are held for 30-90 seconds 4-5 times for very tight muscles, or 60 seconds 1-3 times for areas of the body which are simply tight after exercise. Muscles should be warm before doing static stretches. Light cardio exercise like walking for 5-10 minutes before helps them stretch better without pain. All stretches should only be done in a pain free range, but tension can be felt. Breathing during stretching is very important.

Boning up on bone health is important for you to keep your framework healthy and strong.
May God bless you!



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