Proactive choices in your twenties can be a bone health game-changer.
BY JULIE B.
It’s not surprising that many 20-somethings don’t bother themselves with problems such as bone loss and potential hip fractures. While menopause might be the last thing on your mind, medical experts agree that your decisions TODAY could be vital in preventing loss of bone density later in life. SweetSpot Labs has compiled a list of not so obvious, valuable tips beyond the age-old “get enough calcium” to keep your bones healthy and strong to menopause and beyond!
Exercise for Bone Health
Cardio may be great for staying lean and energized, but weight-bearing exercises are especially recommended for maintaining bone strength throughout your life.Despite a cumbersome reputation, weight training doesn’t have to be a chore. Break up your monotonous treadmill pounding and elliptical sessions with a yoga class or by incorporating high-rep exercises with some free weights!
Being underweight can lead to low bone density and puts you at risk of fractures as you age. We won’t name names; but many models and celebs fall below the recommended BMI and should not be used as healthy examples. For most women, underweight is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of less than 18.5. In extreme cases, being underweight can bring on amenorrhea, tricking your body into early menopause and causing bone loss. We know that your twenties are meant for looking super svelte, but trust us, looking fab in skinny jeans will never be more important than a healthy body weight. Calculate your own BMI with this helpful tool.
Please, Stop Smoking
Okay, you might have seen this one coming but we’re going to tell you again — Do. Not. Smoke. Smoking impedes cellular turnover in your body, which is a vital function for building healthy bone mass. If you already smoke, stopping now will significantly reduce your risk of osteoporosis and bone fracture. Do your bones a favor and quit while you’re ahead!
Vitamin D is Key
Calcium is often celebrated for its role in keeping bones strong but its cousin vitamin D rarely gets the attention it deserves. Important at every stage of a woman’s life, vitamin D helps the body absorb the calcium that builds our bones. Found in foods such as fatty fish and milk, vitamin D is commonly referred to as the sunshine vitamin. Sun exposure is what facilitates the absorption of this vital nutrient. Unfortunately, today we are getting less vitamin D than previous generations due to spending less time outside. It is recommended that women who live in less sunny climates, like the northeastern US, compensate with a supplement.