It’s no secret that here at The Ashgrove Spinal Centre, we like to see people healthy and happy. Part of staying healthy and keeping a strong spine, is having healthy bones. This week is Australia’s National Healthy Bones Action Week, a week dedicated to raising awareness to the importance of keeping healthy bones.
So why is it so important to keep your bones healthy that they dedicated an entire week to raising awareness about it? Well, for starters, your bones actually have multiple roles in your body. They don’t just provide structure, but they protect your organs, fasten your muscles and store calcium for the body. As you grow, your body is constantly making new bone to replace the old bone that is broken down. For most, peak bone mass is reached at age thirty. From there, your body slows down bone production. So the higher your peak bone mass is at a younger age, the better!
Why does this matter? Healthy, strong bones are key to leading long, healthy, active and independent lives. Poor bone health can lead to conditions such as Osteoporosis at an older age. In Australia, osteoporosis affects 1.2 million people and growing.
What is Osteoporosis? Osteoporosis is when bones become fragile and more likely to fracture due to a loss of calcium and other minerals in the bones.
Both genes and lifestyle impact determines how strong your bones are. While you cannot change your genetics, you can adopt a ‘bone-friendly’ lifestyle that will help you manage long term bone health.
It’s never too late to start looking after your bones. Here are a few tips from TASC on how to get and maintain healthy bones.
- Eat Calcium rich foods. This includes but is not limited to:
- Dairy products – cheese, milk, yoghurt
- Fish – salmon, sardines, whitebait
- Nuts – almonds, sesame seeds
- Green vegetables – broccoli, kale, beans
- Dried figs
- Fortified tofu
- Get your daily recommended calcium intake: The recommended allowance for calcium is 1,000mg a day, between the ages 20-50. Your daily intake should rise as you age. Your body can only absorb 500mg at a time so for the most effective absorption, spread out your intake over the day.
- Get your daily does of Vitamin D: Vitamin D assists your body in absorbing calcium. Try and get in the sun for 10 minutes every day. (see Vitamin D blog)
- Exercise regularly: Try high impact exercises such as running, jogging, aerobics, stair climbing, dancing, tennis and basketball as they compress your bones, boosting your bones strength. If you have any current conditions such as Osteoporosis or arthritis, try less impact exercises such as walking. Ask Dr Bailey what is most suitable for your individual health needs.
- Avoid tobacco and excessive alcohol: Tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption has been associated with loss of bone mineral density. Limit alcohol consumption to a maximum of one a day and avoid cigarettes all together.
- Have your bone density tested: See your GP for a quick DXA test taken through an x-ray. This test can measure your bone mineral density and determine risks of conditions such as Osteoporosis.
- Healthy bones are adjusted bones. Chiropractic care is another great contributor to keeping healthy bones. The Ashgrove Spinal Centre’s chiropractor, Dr Bailey, uses his education and knowledge of the musculoskeletal system to assist you to achieve proper alignment and healthy bones.