(CARLSBAD, CA) – Your mom, your aunt, and your grandma pay attention to their bone mass and take steps to fend off osteoporosis. They know the dangers, they’ve had the appropriate tests, and they take their calcium supplements. But, what about you? Do you know the status of your bone health?
Only 31 percent of college women are aware of risk factors for osteoporosis. And that can be a problem because the National Osteoporosis Foundation reports that women need to establish health behaviors in their 20s to prevent bone-related illnesses decades later. Waiting until menopause is too little, too late.
Bone mass peaks about age 30. After that, women lose one to two percent of bone mass each year. That rate of bone loss accelerates greatly after menopause. Optimizing bone mass early in life is key.
The good news is that it’s actually quite easy to build healthy bones. Making just a couple of small changes in your daily life can pay-off exponentially in years to come. Take a look at these four tips for boning up your health.
1. Participate in weight-bearing exercise. Physical activity not only strengthens your muscles, but it also increases bone density. Jazzercise Founder and CEO Judi Sheppard Missett suggests weight-bearing exercise, such as walking, dancing, stair-climbing, or aerobics, most days of the week. Include some type of resistance training, with free weights or resistance bands, two to three times per week.
2. Get enough calcium. Chances are that you’re one of the 78 percent of Americans who doesn’t get enough calcium. This mineral is the primary component of your bones. Aim for 1,000-1,500 mg per day. Consider taking a calcium supplement, but keep in mind that your body can only absorb about 500 mg at one time. So, taking a mega-supplement with 1,000 mg of calcium is a waste of money. Go for the 500 mg supplement and increase your intake of calcium through foods such as milk, spinach, and collard greens. If you’re still coming up short, take a 500 mg supplement at two different times during the day, such as one with breakfast and one with dinner.
3. Toss in magnesium and Vitamin D. If you’re taking calcium supplements, you’ll want to toss-in another mineral to the mix – magnesium. This mineral helps your body to absorb the calcium. It can also minimize the constipation caused by calcium supplements. Also aiding in your bone’s absorption of calcium is Vitamin D. Women need a minimum of 200-400 IU daily, but most of us fall short. Ask your doctor about increasing your intake of Vitamin D.
4. Get tested. Most of us don’t know that we have weak bones, until we break one. Getting a bone mineral density test, such as the Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DEXA) test at the time of menopause can give you and your doctor an idea of your bone health. Most doctors may not recommend a test until age 65, but don’t wait. The sooner you know the state of your bones, the sooner you can take action.
Osteoporosis is four times more common in women than in men. So, if your chromosomes read female, then it’s time to get serious about your bone health. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Make small changes now. Your bones will thank you.
Jazzercise, created by Judi Sheppard Missett, is the world's leading dance-fitness program with more than 7,500 instructors teaching 32,000 classes weekly in the U.S. and around the globe. Since 1969, millions of people of all ages and fitness levels have reaped the benefits of this comprehensive program, designed to enhance cardiovascular endurance, strength, and flexibility. For more information on Jazzercise go to jazzercise.com or call (800)FIT-IS-IT or (760)476-1750.