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

YOURS (UK) - - Contents -

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.

MUS­CLE UP

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

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