3 Ways To Strengthen Your Bones
Diet and exercise tips to keep your frame in fine fettle
Women can lose almost 20 per cent of their overall bone density in the first five to seven years of menopause. This can mean a higher likelihood of fractures of the spine, hips and forearms. Regular weight-bearing exercises will help you maintain a healthy skeletal and muscular structure and protect you from osteoporosis. Consult a doctor before you start any exercise programme. Also work out with a trainer while keeping the following in mind:
Maintain bone density: Weight-bearing cardiovascular exercises, such as walking, jogging or hiking, are ideal to build and maintain bone density and muscle strength. For each of these, wear activity-specific, supportive footwear.
Try strength training: Strengthen your muscles by using external weights, such as dumb-bells, resistance bands or your own body weight with lunges, squats and push-ups. Remember, core training is crucial—your abs, back and pelvis must be strong to support the spinal structure.
Do balance training: As we grow older, we tend to lose our sense of balance. This may lead to falls and fractures. T’ai chi, yoga and Pilates are great for restoring balance and flexibility. For all balance and stability exercises, it is important to maintain a neutral spine and pelvis. Try this: Stand on one leg for five seconds at a time. Do at least five reps on each leg. Increase duration as you get better.
Mind your diet: A balanced diet, with special attention to calcium and protein intake, will help. Calcium is good for bones, and protein for muscles. Remember, too much salt is harmful and may lead to calcium loss. Add skimmed milk, milk products and fresh green vegetables to your diet. Get protein from poultry, beans and lentils.
Nisha Varma is an American College of Sports Medicine-certified exercise physiologist based in Pune.