Bones. We all got ‘em, we all need ‘em. Bone is made up of different layers. The outer surface of bone is known as the periosteum. The first major layer of bone the part you see when you look at a skeleton is tough and dense. This layer is known as compact bone, or hard bone. If you could peek into the next layer, you would see what looks like a honeycomb or a sponge with many spaces. This area is called cancellous bone, or spongy bone. While cancellous bone isn’t as hard as compact bone, it is still tough.
Bone marrow, which is a soft tissue, fills the center of many bones. Red bone marrow produces red blood cells, white blood cells, and blood platelets. Red blood cells transport oxygen to all parts of the body. White blood cells fight the germs that can make you sick. If you are injured, the platelets come together to help the blood to clot. In other words, if you cut yourself, your platelets “plug” the cut and stop the bleeding. Yellow bone marrow can send energy reserves, stored as fat, to other parts of the body if needed as a last resort.
Collagen is also found in most bones. A protein, collagen gives bone tissue a framework that is both flexible and strong. Bones are also made up of calcium and phosphorus, minerals that work together to make bones hard. Bones must be hard, but they must also be flexible to withstand stress without snapping.
Keeping our bones healthy and strong is vital for us to stay active, at any age.
Strong bones make it easier to keep up with our babies both fur and human. They support us on long hikes, and even make crawling out of bed much less taxing.
Bones are living organs that constantly change. Old bone tissue is broken down to release minerals that the body needs, and new bone tissue is created to replace it. The amount of bone tissue in the skeleton is known as bone mass.
During the childhood and teenage years, there is more bone tissue being created than being broken down. The amount of bone mass a person has when the skeleton reaches full maturation is known as peak bone mass. The process reverses as a person gets older. Starting in a person’s late thirties, more bone is being broken down than created.
Think of your bone tissue like an allowance: the more you save now, the more you will have for later. Instead of saving in order to buy the latest must-have item, however, you are saving in order to have strong, healthy bones throughout your life. As your skeleton increases in density and size during your childhood and teenage years, there is more bone being “saved,” or created, than “spent,” or broken down. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), by the time girls turn eighteen and boys turn twenty, they have typically reached up to 90%of their peak bone mass. By about age thirty, most people have reached 100 percent of their peak bone mass. This means that their bones have become as strong and dense as they will ever be.
Now is the best time to start “saving” bone tissue. The amount of bone mass you gain during childhood and adolescence will influence the health of your skeleton for the rest of your life.
I know, bone health may not always be on your mind, so follow these four easy tips to keep your bones in tip top shape for whatever life throws at you.
Mom Wasn’t Lying. Eat Your Greens.
Like most things in life, eating healthy is key to optimising your body’s performance. Consuming foods high in calcium is a great place to start when looking to improve bone health. Green, leafy veggies like broccoli, kale, cabbage, and okra are full of calcium, and a litany of other beneficial vitamins and minerals.
Because your bones are made out of calcium in the form of calcium phosphate, it’s vital for bone strength. Along with collagen, calcium creates the framework to keep your skeletal structure strong and flexible. As we age, our bone density starts to deteriorate. A lack of density can lead to weak and brittle bones that break easily. Keeping your calcium levels up will help to prevent bones from weakening the older you get.
But you don’t have to rely solely on veggies—cow’s milk and cheese are calcium superstars found to help combat osteoporosis. And if cow’s milk isn’t your thing, nuts, tofu, and soya beans also have lots of calcium for those bones of yours. Calcium isn’t all you need, though. Vitamin D is also essential to building strong and healthy bones. Look for foods high in vitamin D such as salmon, tuna, trout, fortified cereals, fortified fat spreads, eggs, and mushrooms, and get plenty of sun!
Take Your Vitamins
Sometimes diet alone doesn’t always cut it, and we need an extra boost to give our body all the nutrients it needs. Luckily, adding a calcium supplement to your daily regimen can help make a big difference in your overall bone health. Since our bodies don’t naturally produce calcium, proper diet and supplementation are extremely important.
And since our bodies are quite poor at absorbing calcium, supplementing with magnesium and vitamin D can make a huge difference. These nutrients help your body absorb calcium so it doesn’t all go to waste.
Whether you are a young whippersnapper or long in the tooth, supplementation can give you an extra boost to maintain bone strength and integrity.
Do You Even Lift, Bro?
While diet and supplementation are the building blocks for bone health, exercise is the next step to imbue your bones with Thor-like strength. Just like your muscles, your bones need a healthy amount of stress to build and maintain strength. Putting some stress, but not too much, on your bones is what triggers a response in your body to make your bones thicker and stronger. Any physical activity is good for your bones and body, but it’s those heavy lifts that really make the biggest difference. Strength training and high impact exercises can help prevent osteoporosis and promote bone growth.
Squats, deadlifts, and shoulder presses and raises are among the most effective bone-strengthening exercises. And as always with strength training, consult your physician and make sure you have a trusty spotter nearby so you don’t hurt yourself.
Catch Some Rays
As I mentioned above, our bodies are next-level bad at absorbing calcium. Vitamin D plays an important role in helping our body absorb this sweet, sweet bone-strengthening nutrient, so it makes sense that getting some sun can help maintain healthy bones. And the way we get vitamin D from the sun is actually pretty amazing. We have a vitamin D precursor in our skin, and UV rays from the sun turn this precursor into vitamin D3. The vitamin D3 ends up in your kidneys where it becomes calcitriol, the active form of vitamin D.
Luckily, you don’t need to bake for hours in the sun to reap the healthy benefits. Your everyday outside activities, like running errands or mowing the lawn, can be sufficient. But if you’re out soaking in sunshine for any period of time, wear your sunscreen. You’ll still absorb enough rays to get the vitamin D train moving without putting your skin at risk msum d2l.
Our bones keep us moving and grooving every day. So we need to do all we can to care for them. Following these tips is a fantastic start to keep you doing the limbo well after retirement.
*This medicine may not be right for you. Read the label before purchase. Follow the directions for use. If symptoms persist, worsen, or change unexpectedly talk to your health professional.
About the author
Steve is a dad to a human baby and a fur baby, a born and bred Utahn, and an occasional writer who enjoys sports, food, and fast cars.