Keys to help you maintain healthy bones

By Raymond Onyango.

 One of the greatest miracles of mother – nature is that life occurs where you least expect it. Your bones for instance are living tissue even though they may not seem like it. They have blood vessels, nerves and bone marrow where all of your blood cells are created. The human body is constantly tearing down and building various bones in your body all the time, though the action of a group of highly specialized cells known as Osteoblasts and Osteoclasts.

Osteoblasts are the builders, they make collagen and hydroxypatite the basic building blocks of bone tissue. Osteoclasts on the other hand are a separate group of larger cells whose function is to dissolve bone by acting on the mineral matrix. They  secrete various acids and enzymes, which break down collagen and dissolve the bone structure. This constant tearing down and rebuilding is what keeps our bones healthy and stands in the way of degenerative bone conditions such as osteoporosis and arthritis.

In his iconic book, Gun’s Germs and Steel, author Jared Diamond makes note of how the discovery of antibiotics greatly increased the lifespan of the average human being. But living longer also means that we are using our joints long beyond what nature had perhaps originally intended. As a testament to this fact perhaps, half or all women and at least a quarter of all men currently walking the planet will experience first hand, the ravages of bone disease and its limiting impact on an individuals life. One of the primary reasons for this is the fact that your most active bone making stage lies between age 20 and 30 – around which time you reach peak bone density.

From here on the only way to go is downhill. It made news headlines on major networks mid last year, when actress and mother Gwyneth Paltrow announced to the world that she had been diagnosed with Osteopenia, a precursor to the brittle bone disease Osteoporosis. The problem was diagnosed in a bone scan after she suffered a leg fracture. Her doctors tested her vitamin D levels, which turned out to be extremely low a fact several experts attributed to the endless dieting that comes with Hollywood stardom. But Gwyneth Paltrow is only 37 and this is what should get the alarm bells ringing in your head. It could just as well be you!

Eat Better

At the very forefront of your bone conservation efforts, should be a diet rich in leafy green vegetables and fruit. Greens give you calcium, Vitamin K, Potassium and other important minerals; your body needs to lay down bone tissue.   You also need vitamin D to aid proper bone mineralization. One of the largest sources of vitamin D is sunlight, although you do absorb some through the stomach by way food. Vitamin D has many other important functions in the body. For instance vitamin D helps to maintain normal blood levels of calcium by promoting calcium absorption in your intestines. An adequate amount of Vitamin D is important to keep young children from developing rickets or bowlegs, as they are commonly known.

Move More

Your bones will get stronger if you use them more. It is one of those medical conundrums. Simply resting the entire weight of your body on your legs when jogging or walking around the neighborhood in the evening will give your body the signal to lay down more bone material to reinforce your bones. Women especially need to embrace strength training with open arms in the fight against bone disease.  In the last decade no less that two- dozen studies have been published highlighting the positive relationship between strength training and greater bone density.

Beyond this is the fact that strength training helps us to enhance the structural integrity key weight bearing joints such as the knees, hips and lower spine. Without the adequate strength conditioning, you can almost be assured of developing problems with your joints at some stage in your life.

 If you want to stay healthy and independent well into your old age, you need to begin to lay a firm foundation right this moment. It is never too late to begin; if anything numerous studies have proven that even subjects in their 80’s can still improve their bone density through regular exercise.  Huge compound movements such as squats, Lunges, Push Ups, Pull Ups and Dips Should comprise the backbone of any successful strength-training program. Virtually every one of these can be done from the comfort of your own home without the need for any equipment whatsoever. All that’s left is for you to get started!

Have a brilliant week will you!

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