Osteoporosis is a disease marked by reduced bone strength which leads to an increased risk of fractures or broken bones. This condition is the major underlying cause of fractures in post-menopausal women and the elderly, it is often called a “silent disease,” because it usually progresses without any symptoms until a fracture occurs. I personally didn’t know how many Canadians were affected by this disease alone right now, and the frightening thing is that you may never be able to tell if someone is suffering with Osteoporosis.
However, despite many considering it be a natural and unavoidable part of growing older, it doesn’t have to be as many experts consider it to be preventable. Studies show that those with the disease can make lifestyle choices that can potentially reduce or prevent progression of the disease and in turn safeguard from future fractures!
With winter approaching it can be tempting to avoid going outside and staying put on the sofa beside an open fire, but the best way to reduce your risk of osteoporosis is to change your lifestyle and be more active.
To help you start and plan for this winter here are 5 top tips.
While going outside and leaving your warm armchair to face the weather. This might not be an appeasing thought, staying indoors can be detrimental as vitamin D, nicknamed the sunshine vitamin (which helps absorb calcium into the bones). Vitamin D can best be accessed by going outside into the sun. The best part about this source of vitamin D is that its free, unlike the many supplements available on the market, which come with varying information about what is a correct dosage. (Greeniche Natural Health has made it super easy to make sure you take your daily dose of Vitamin D Drops! Convenient and affordable, give it a try!) So going out even for a short 5-minute walk can work wonders for you in the long run. Which leads to tip number 2!
Why not team up with a few friends for a brief walk once a week and use it as an excuse to get out, socialise and keep fit.
Walking is one of the simplest weight-bearing exercises to build bone. Other weight bearing activities are jogging, tennis, aerobics and lifting free weights. However, waking is not only free, but it is a good way to get exposure to vitamin D and help improve your mental health, with a recent study showing that just 12 minutes of activity could improve your mood.
When going out in search of vitamin D you can’t go on an empty stomach. Certain foods are good for you bones such as:
1-Dairy products such as low or non-fat milk, yoghurt or cheese
2-Fatty fish such as Salmon, mackerel, tuna or sardines
3-Vegetables like tomatoes, spinach, broccoli, sweet potato, kale, Brussel sprouts and artichokes
4-Fruits like bananas, raisins, oranges, strawberries, grapefruit and pineapple
However, foods high in salt (sodium) can cause you to lose calcium and cause bone loss. A lot of processed and canned foods are high in salt so always check the nutritional label and try not to use anything with 20% or more of your % daily value. Aim for 2,300mg of salt or less per day.
It can seem daunting to try and incorporate more fruit and veg into your diet, so try and get into the habit of making a milkshake in the morning that you can drink throughout the day and even take out with you on your walks.
6 large strawberries
1 medium banana
1.5 tbsp of orange juice
1 cup of milk
4 ice cubes
Method: Put in a blender and blitz until smooth then enjoy!
There’s no point freezing when engaging in self-care for your bones. Footwear is key to an enjoyable walk, but your walking boots for summer and spring may not be suitable for winter. Winter walking footwear needs to have good traction and to keep your feet warm, but importantly, your footwear needs to be waterproof or water resistant in case of slushy puddles. A good thick sole to your shoe should ensure good traction on icy patches, but for extra protection leg gaiters and crampons can be a useful additional purchase.
Try to wrap up warm and wear more than one layer with a little padding if possible to give extra protection in case of a fall. The best coat to have is one that is rain, wind and snow proof so that your inner layers remain warm and dry. However, a common overlooked issue with winter walking is sweat. Always look for a base layer made of wicking fabric so that when you sweat it can easily evaporate though the base layer and away from your skin, a thin base layer can be easily layered up and helps trap air to keep you warm.
5) Avoid Bad Habits:
Bad news for lovers of a quick cigarette, a glass of wine or even coffee. Tobacco, Alcohol and Caffeine have been shown to reduce bone density,
Multiple studies have shown that smoking can prevent the body from effectively absorbing calcium, this reduces bone mass and therefore increases the risk of fracture. Alcohol and Caffeine fair slightly better, but moderation is key. Heavy alcohol consumption can interfere with vitamin D and cause bone density loss, so remember that it is 1 drink a day for women and 2 for men. According to some studies this low level of consumption might even slow bone loss!
Caffeine can cause bone loss in those who don’t consume enough calcium, with just 2 cups a day causing significant and accelerated bone loss in participants in a recent study, so make sure to have your coffee white!
Make this winter a fresh start in you maintaining your health, and feeling your best! What is one of your favourite tips? Comment below and let me know!
Annu is best known for her authentic, non-judgmental teaching style and compassion centered self-love practices. She is instrumental in weaving ancient wisdom teachings of yoga into a modern day practice aimed at serving people at all levels. Annu is dynamic in teaching Vinyasa, Hatha, Yin, Power Yoga and Meditation. She is committed to finding key approaches to encourage the growth of the physical and spiritual self; helping others inspire thoughts into action in creating a life you deserve.
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