Prepping for the Peak: Top Tips for Bone Health in Your Twenties
Often overlooked throughout life, the strength and health of one’s skeletal system is far more important than many realize until its flat-out too late. I suppose it’s because people just don’t think it’s something you have any control over, that your bones are just the way they are and there’s nothing that anybody can do about it. More likely it has something to with the fact that we just can’t see our bones, so we don’t really think about them. Whatever the reason, skeletal health is not part of virtually any health-related discussion until people reach the age range of about 50 to 60 years old.
In order to cast a little different light on what we see as a major contributor of age related illnesses, weak bones, we thought of this little analogy. Think of your skeletal system like the chassis of a car. One of the jobs of the chassis is to support the engine. Think of your muscles as the engine of car. A more powerful engine is going to require a stronger chassis. The muscular strength of a human will never exceed what the skeletal system can handle. As one’s skeletal strength and bone density declines with age, muscle strength and density follow right along with it. In fact, many are shocked that human beings typically lose about 1% of bone and muscle mass per year, every year, after the age of 30.
As you can probably guess by now, building strong bones is extremely important when we are young. They will serve us throughout our lives. An interesting study was published in 2012 that included over 1000 subjects. The study found that unless participants experienced impact level forces of at least 4.2 multiples of their bodyweight, they did not build any new bone tissue. Let that sink in for a moment. No increased bone density unless our bodies feel at least 4.2 times of our own body weight. That’s a lot of weight!
Its easier to understand why humans build almost all of their bone density when they’re young and engaged in crazy physical activities! Well, the good news is that our bodies retain the bone building triggers well after the age of thirty and that safely experiencing high levels of bone building impact can be experienced at OsteoStrong. However, there a few other strategies you can employee take even more control of your skeletal strength at all ages.
While we’re all aware of the importance of calcium, this nutrient alone is not enough to build (or maintain) strong bones. As you incorporate plant based calcium into your diet, be sure you’re combining calcium with vitamin D3 – a necessary nutrient in absorbing the bone building benefits of calcium. For more tips on other nutrients to incorporate into your diet, check out our previous blog post on foods to maintain bone strength.
While diet is a main player in lowering weight, it is key to shift your focus away from losing pounds and towards maintaining a healthy body mass index (BMI), which affects bones in many ways. For one, fat is necessary in producing estrogen, which regulates bone mass and strength. Additionally, those who are underweight risk injury during weight-bearing exercise. Aim for a BMI of 18.5-24.9 – anything under 18.5 is considered underweight.
Not only does alcohol affect the liver, but it also interferes with the pancreas and stomach, which are key organs in calcium and vitamin D absorption. While the best option is to cut alcohol completely, that request is impractical for some. Instead, practice moderation. Two easy changes to make are to remove the alcohol from your house and limit yourself to having one less drink per day. As time goes on, it will be easier to say no to the temptation of drinking.
Another lifestyle change to make in your twenties is to quit smoking. In addition to being a cause of cancer, it is also a contributor to brittle bones. Smoking cigarettes generates inflammation and free radicals, which stunt the body’s natural defenses. It also affects the liver (which produces estrogen-destroying enzymes) and leads to increased levels of the hormone cortisol (leading to bone breakdown). While quitting can be difficult, is a necessary change to benefit your overall health.
Another key change to make, if you haven’t already, is to establish a consistent workout routine that includes high impact levels of force. This may not be practical for most people, and as a general caution, it’s not something that may not be safe either. One interesting piece of data from the study that I shared above is that of the 1000+ subjects in the study, only about a dozen subjects actually achieved the needed levels of force to build bone. In short, it’s hard to do. Don’t worry about it though, you now have an easy path to developing an incredibly strong skeletal system by popping into OsteoStrong for a few sweat-free minutes once a week. Now you can check that have-to off your list.
As you navigate your twenties, it is important to note that there are a lot of decisions you can make that will lead to more graceful aging later on. Trust me, your future you will be high-fiving you for making awesome decisions now. If you find yourself far beyond your twenties, and are starting to show some of the signs of a weakening skeletal system like poor posture, aches and pains and declining strength, fear not, OsteoStrong can help trigger your built-in bone building capibilities to get you back to where you were in your 20’s…serisouly!. OsteoStrong uses our proprietary, patent-pending, robotic musculoskeletal therapy system, increasing the strength of both bones and muscles in amazing ways. Best of all, it’s so easy to do! To learn more about maintaining your physical health, find an OsteoStrong near you. First session is on us!