The Key to Building Strong Bones

Bones serve as the framework of the human body. Bone is living tissue that undergoes a cyclical process of building, degradation, and rebuilding. While healthy bones can resist external pressures well enough to prevent breakage, some conditions such as osteoporosis affect the building and rebuilding process itself. Instead of strong bones, a person with the disease suffers from the consequences of brittle bones.

Weakened bone due to age and decrease in bone density

Men and women may be diagnosed with osteoporosis, although the condition is more prevalent in women, especially females older than 50. Whereas at a younger age, people form more bones than they are losing, the process of bone rebuilding slows down in women approaching menopause. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, the decrease in bone density is a sign of osteoporosis. Bone density is measured by a painless radiologic procedure similar to an X-ray and compared to the average measurement of that of a person 20 to 30 years of age. It is possible to lower the risk of incurring osteoporosis with daily intake of the right kinds of food and regular physical activity.

Key nutrients to build stronger bones

Vitamin D and calcium are the two main nutrients required by the body in forming strong bones. These are especially important in young children, whose bones are still forming, While Vitamin D is essential in the absorption of calcium, the latter is a key component of teeth and bones. Vitamin D is also important for the growth of bones. Both substances work together to prevent the occurrence of fractures.

The risk for developing osteoporosis increases as people age, particularly in women. Because of this, it is necessary to pay attention to the recommended daily allowance of vitamin D and calcium, which entails planning meals with ingredients that are rich in these compounds. The recommended daily allowance for calcium in adults 51 and above is 1,200 milligrams. Meanwhile, adults over 50 should get 600 international units (IU) of vitamin D. On the other hand, adults aged 50 and below should get 200 IU of Vitamin D and 1,000 milligrams of calcium.

Physical exercise to promote stronger bones

Physical exercise can be helpful in maintaining bone density. There are two different types of physical exercise which are especially intended for promoting optimal bone strength. These are muscle strengthening and weight-bearing exercises.

Muscle strengthening exercises are usually performed with resistance to improve the strength of muscle contraction. Lifting weights, using elastic bands, or exercising on weight machines all promote an increase in the number of muscle fibers of the targeted muscle or muscle group. Stronger muscles have better ability to support the bones. On the other hand, weight-bearing exercises are physical activities that are performed while upright or while the feet are stably planted on the ground and the body are moving. Weight-bearing exercises may either be low impact activities (aerobics, step-up exercises) or high impact activities (dancing, running, jumping rope). These exercises promote the building of bones and increase bone strength by promoting more compact deposition of bone tissue.