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Embrace Strong Bones: Tips for Lifelong Health

If you are an avid yoga practitioner, you may have heard the phrase, “The spine is the highway to the infinite.” About 100 years ago, yogi Parmahansa Yogananda helped introduce millions of Westerners to the teachings of meditation and Kriya Yoga in his influential book, Autobiography of a Yogi.

While Yogananda doesn’t specifically note the importance of bone health, the book emphasizes overall physical health and well-being as part of a holistic approach to spirituality - focusing on perhaps our most important set of bones, the spine.

Our bones are the foundation of our bodies, literally. They provide structure, support for our movement, and protection of our vital organs. But just like any foundation, they need care and attention to stay strong. As we age, it becomes even more important to prioritize bone health to prevent fractures and maintain an active lifestyle.

Here's a not-so-fun fact: According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, about half of all adults over 50 will experience a bone fracture due to osteoporosis in their lifetime (ouch!).

But there is good news!

There are plenty of ways to build strong bones and keep them that way, regardless of age. Below, we highlight three strategies:

1. Fuel Your Body Right

  • Calcium Power: Calcium is the building block of bone. Dairy products are a classic source of this mineral. However, with fewer people consuming dairy nowadays, you can also consider eating leafy greens, sardines, and fortified foods like plant-based milk.
  • Vitamin D Duos with Calcium: Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium. Sunlight exposure is a natural source of this vitamin, although too much sun exposure can lead to other health conditions. This is why so many people need a supplement. Talk to your doctor about getting your vitamin D levels checked.
  • Protein Packs a Punch: Protein is another essential nutrient for bone health. Include lean protein sources like fish, chicken, beans, and lentils in your diet.

2. Move It or Lose It

Exercise is a fantastic way to build and maintain bone density. Weight-bearing exercises like walking, hiking, dancing, and strength training put stress on your bones, signaling them to get stronger. Try to aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week.

3. Lifestyle Tweaks for Bone Strength

  • Say No to Smoking: Smoking weakens bones and increases fracture risk. Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your overall health, including your bones.
  • Limit Alcohol: Excessive alcohol consumption can hinder bone formation and increase fracture risk. Like most things, enjoy alcohol in moderation.
  • Maintain a Healthy Weight: Being overweight or underweight can unnecessarily stress your bones. Talk to your doctor about a healthy weight range.

Think of building strong bones as an investment in your future. By incorporating these simple strategies and those offered by your doctor, you can keep your bones strong and stay active for years to come!

Remember: Always consult your doctor before starting any new exercise program or taking supplements.

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