Build better bones
Your bones provide structure, support and protection Evennett them. Karen to take care of so it really pays your can do to keep best things you explains the your bones – body – in great shape
All too often we take our bone health for granted and the first time we know anything’s wrong is when we suffer a fracture. Happily, there’s plenty you can do to future-proof your bones and the good news is, it’s never too late to start. One of the best things you can do is to quit smoking. Not only will it benefit your lungs and heart, but research has identified a direct relationship between tobacco and decreased bone density; when smokers suffer a fracture it takes longer to heal, too.
For help quitting, speak to your GP or visit www.nhs.uk/smokefree What you drink has a huge impact too. “Keep an eye on how many glasses of wine you have,” says nutritionist Dr Marilyn Glenville (www.marilyn glenville.com). “Alcohol affects your bones by acting as a diuretic and causing mineral loss. It also blocks your uptake of the nutrients you need for healthier bones.” Stick to the healthy guidelines of no more that 14 units a week.
But it’s not just alcohol you need to consider; fizzy drinks get their tangy taste from added phosphorous.
“Taking in phosphorous, which is acidic, tells your body to release calcium from your bones to balance it. Research has linked just four colas a week with lower bone density,” says Dr Marilyn.
“The caffeine in fizzy drinks is an additional hazard. It’s another form of acidity that will leach calcium from your bones – especially if you know you already have osteoporosis or osteopenia (its precursor).”
Give your bones a break by swapping to decaffeinated drinks.
We’re all being told to take 150 minutes of exercise weekly – including weightbearing activities on two days. That could be a yoga or body pump class, lifting weights, or even walking uphill carrying heavy shopping. The push and pull of your muscles makes your bones stronger.
A study at Exeter University found that doing just one minute of highintensity weight-bearing exercise every day makes women’s bones four per cent stronger. Increasing the amount you walk is a great way to start and as you get fitter pick up the pace for a minute at a time.
Just one minute of highintensity weight-bearing exercise every day makes women’s bones four per cent stronger