October is a big month for bones, and that’s not just because of the skeleton Halloween decorations. Both World Pediatric Bone and Joint Day (Oct. 19), and Bone and Joint Health National Action Week (Oct. 12-20) take place in the month of October. To help commemorate these important dates, we wanted to share some tips on how you can maintain healthy bones at any age. Developing and maintaining strong, healthy bones typically can be attributed to three main components: calcium, vitamin D, and exercise. While all three of these elements are relevant at any age, we wanted to take a closer look at the role that they play in throughout each stage in life.
The habits that are formed in childhood are likely to stick throughout a lifetime. This is why healthy habits, like well-balanced diets and activity, are so crucial to implement early on. Learning the importance of healthy eating and regular exercise promotes overall health and wellness, as well as bone health. As bones develop in childhood, you should ensure that your child is consuming plenty of calcium-enriched foods like leafy greens, milk, cheese, and yogurt. Activities like tennis, soccer, and gymnastics are all examples of weight-bearing exercises that help build bone density by requiring the body to work against gravity. In addition to contributing to building strong bones, sports and activities played outside can help ensure your child is absorbing healthy levels of vitamin D.
While some may assume that the childhood stage in life may see the most bone growth, it’s actually adolescence where up to a quarter of adult bone mass is built. At this point in life, teenagers should consume 1300 mg of calcium per day. In fact, adolescents and seniors are tied for having the highest recommended intake of calcium. In order to properly absorb this elevated amount of calcium, it’s important that teenagers also maintain healthy levels of vitamin D. Vitamin D can be obtained from foods, and from sunshine. In this stage of life, it’s also important to continue participating in regular weight-bearing exercises to strengthen bones.
Throughout your 20s, there is still some time left to build your bone mass. After the age of 30, however, you can only maintain the bone density that you have. You can help maintain strong bones by continuing to monitor your calcium and vitamin D intake and to exercise regularly. It’s important to avoid certain lifestyle choices that can negatively impact your bone density, such as smoking and drinking alcoholic beverages.
Age is an uncontrollable risk factor for decreased bone density and osteoporosis, but there are still steps you can take to maintain your bone mass. Increasing calcium intake may help to offset losses associated with growing older. While consuming higher amounts of calcium may not have the same bone density building effect that it did when you were a teenager, it can help to slow down the loss of bone density.
Consult an Orthopedic Specialist
The team at Paris Orthopedics and Sports Medicine is dedicated to helping our patients recover from a wide range of orthopedic conditions. Our services include general orthopedic medicine, joint replacement, sports injury treatment, and osteoporosis treatments at our bone health clinic. If you have questions about how to maintain bone density, call (903) 737-0000 to make an appointment.