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Healthy Lifestyle

Bone Strength Starts With Simple Healthy Habits

Published: Oct. 25, 2022

You may not always think about it, but your bones play a pivotal part in your everyday life.

When healthy, you may take for granted your ability to walk, run, dance, lift things or throw around the football. You might not realize how important it is to take care of your bones until you’re stuck sitting and watching others doing the activities you love.

Focusing on your bone health now can keep you up and moving while helping to prevent serious injuries in the future.

 

Resistive Exercise

Practicing common healthy habits, such as engaging in regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight, can keep your bones in top performance.

Resistive exercises – also known as strength-training exercises – are particularly helpful for maintaining bone health. The work your muscles are doing during resistive exercises also encourages the strengthening of your bones.

Some resistive exercises that promote bone health are walking, calisthenics, weight training, lunges or using resistance bands for a variety of movements.

While it’s important to get your sweat on through running, biking or engaging in other cardio workouts on a regular basis for overall health, it’s essential to sprinkle in strength-training exercises to keep your bones healthy.

 

Focus on Fruits and Vegetables

Following a diet that includes the recommended servings of fruits and vegetables is always sound advice for proper nutrition. But did you know that many fruits and vegetables include nutrients that help strengthen and maintain bone mass? Receiving adequate calcium and vitamin D is essential for maintaining bone health, but other nutrients like magnesium and vitamin K play major roles in allowing for the growth of bones.

Magnesium, which can be found in many different fruits and veggies – including avocados, bananas, leafy greens and tropical fruits – helps your body break down and absorb calcium.

Vitamin K helps your body build bones and can help prevent osteoporosis – a condition that causes your bones to weaken. Green vegetables like asparagus, peas, kale, romaine lettuce and spinach are packed with vitamin K. 

While most people think about receiving their calcium intake from dairy products, fruits and veggies can also help you reach levels of calcium in your body that promote bone health. Foods like broccoli, collard greens, oranges, raspberries and strawberries are rich in calcium.

 

Addressing any Concerns

With all the activities we engage in, it’s likely that you’ll experience a few injuries. Even if you’ve never broken a bone, you’ve probably knocked your knees or elbows, or stubbed your toe on the corner of a piece of furniture.

If you experience any discomfort, it’s important to pay attention to those aches and pains to help decrease your risk of more serious injury.

Most minor injuries are self-limited and improve over the course of weeks. If that’s not the case, you should see a medical professional.

Treatment for more serious injuries may include medications, adjustments to your exercise routine, physical therapy, injections or even surgical intervention.

Additionally, pathologic fractures – or breaks caused by disease – can lead to significant loss of mobility. That’s why it’s important to know when your bones might be trying to tell you that something needs to be fixed – before it’s too late. 

 

Prevention Is Key

Participating regularly in physical activities, developing healthy eating habits that include foods packed with essential nutrients and avoiding injuries are all important in promoting strong bones.

Screening for and treating osteopenia – or bone loss – to prevent osteoporosis is also important throughout adulthood.

As the old saying goes, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." And that certainly holds true for maintaining healthy bones.

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About the Author

Growing up, Jeremy Gallant, MD, always wanted to make an impact in people’s lives. He initially wanted to be an NFL player, but his sixth grade teacher encouraged him to instead look for a career where he could improve people’s quality of life. Her advice resonated with Dr. Gallant, and he instead directed his attention to the field of medicine.

During his first year of medical school, he was involved in a car accident that left him with a back injury. Needing treatment to regain motion and alleviate pain, he was introduced to physical medicine and rehabilitation as a patient. He was amazed at the level of commitment and skill doctors had in helping him heal, and it solidified his future specialty. Today, he rehabilitates patients as a physiatrist at Methodist Physicians Clinic - HealthWest.

Dr. Gallant loves helping people regain their lives after a major injury. One of his favorite moments of his career was seeing two of his former patients playing wheelchair basketball. Seeing them move across the court after being injured, and knowing he helped them reach that goal, allowed him to finally reach his lifelong dream: making an impact in people’s lives.

See more articles from Jeremy Gallant, MD
Jeremy Gallant, MD