Maintaining optimal bone health is good for all the bones and joints, including the ones that make up the spine. If you’re not mindful of how you care for your bones, you could be more likely to develop bone diseases such as osteoporosis and various forms of arthritis, which increases your risk of experiencing vertebral fractures and developing related spinal instability. Be proactive about preventing problems like these by following these 10 tips for boosting bone health.
1. Walk or jog
Bones need sufficient stimulation to stay healthy. One way to safely achieve this goal is with regular walking or jogging at a pace that’s comfortable for you. Aim for about 30–40 minutes of either activity 3–4 times a week.
2. Climb steps
If you’re safely able to do more intense weight-bearing exercises, consider climbing steps or using a stair-stepper machine. Exercises of this nature can strengthen bones along with the muscles that support them. Jumping-based activities have similar benefits.
3. Explore resistance/strength training
These types of exercises apply pressure to bones, joints, and muscles in a way that increases strength, maintains flexibility and balance, and manages weight, which is also good for the bones and joints. Options with resistance and strength training include:
- Low-impact weight workouts
- Push-pull training
- Workouts using resistance bands
- Muscular isolation training
4. Stop smoking
If you’re one of more than 30 million adults who still smoke in the United States, kicking the habit could reduce your risk of bone loss. Smokers also tend to be more prone to develop balance issues, which increases the risk of falling and breaking spinal bones.
5. Cut down on alcohol consumption
In moderation, alcohol has some proven health benefits. However, excessive alcohol consumption can affect the body’s ability to regulate and absorb vitamin D and calcium—two of the most important nutrients for optimal bone health. Drinking too much could also affect bone density and increase your fracture risk.
6. Start your day with fortified oatmeal
A pack of unsweetened instant oatmeal provides about 100 mg of calcium, which is a good way to work your way toward the recommended daily calcium intake of 1000 to 1200 mg. Adding whole/almond milk or yogurt to your oatmeal provides even more calcium.
7. Add canned seafood to your shopping List
For times when fresh seafood isn’t available, canned options such as sardines, shrimp, and salmon can give you a significant calcium boost. For instance, a can of shrimp has almost 200 mg of calcium. Salmon is especially rich in both calcium and omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids increase the amount of calcium in the bones and reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis.
8. Increase your intake of leafy greens, nuts, & beans
These are all great sources of calcium, an essential nutrient that protects bones and helps with the formation of new bone tissue. Collard greens, kale, and bok choy are some of the leafy green veggies that are high in calcium. Calcium-rich nuts include almonds, walnuts, and pistachios. You’ll also get plenty of calcium from both traditional baked and white beans, which can be consumed whole or in a tasty low-salt soup or stew.
9. Opt for a calcium supplement
It’s not always easy to get enough calcium from your diet alone, especially if you have issues with dairy products. If you aren’t getting the recommended daily intake of calcium, talk to your doctor or Los Angeles spine surgeon about supplements.
10. Get more vitamin D
Vitamin D is a bone health must-have because it helps bone tissues hold on to important nutrients. The recommended daily intake of vitamin D is 600 international units (IU) for people under 70 and 800 IU for adults 70 and older. One way to get vitamin D is with 5–10 minutes of natural sunlight per day. Dietary sources of vitamin D include:
- Eggs and cheese
- Salmon, mackerel, and other fatty fish
- Beef liver
For more information or assistance with maximizing your bone health to maintain a healthy spine, reach out to the pioneering spine specialists at The Spine Institute. Our physicians are industry-leading experts in every aspect of spinal health. Give us a call today at 0310-828-7757 to schedule a consultation.