1) Strength Train. This is your trump card against osteoporosis, not Fosamax or Boniva or any one of the myriad number of bone strength medications that are out on the market. Studies consistently show that strength training not only maintains levels of bone mineral density, but it is the only non-prescription way to increase bone mineral density. Studies have shown as much as a 2% yearly increase in bone mineral density as a result of strength training (Not impressed? The average for women is a yearly 1-2% loss of bone mineral density). Best of all, it doesn’t require a big time commitment; as little as 30 minutes a week of properly performed strength training is enough to stimulate improvements in BMD.
2) Eat your leafy greens. Quick quiz: what’s the best way to obtain dietary calcium? No, it’s not dairy, but eating cruciferous (leafy green) vegetables. In addition to being nutritional powerhouses that contain abundant amounts of antioxidants, most leafy greens contain calcium and magnesium in proper proportions for optimal assimilation.
3) Don’t skim the dairy. It seems like a day doesn’t pass without some government organization telling women to take in enough servings of dairy “for strong bones.” They are encouraged to eat low-fat cheeses and yogurt, and drink low-fat or skim milk. Without the saturated fat in whole milk, however, the body cannot assimilate the calcium or the protein in the milk. Whoops. Remember everyone – saturated fat will not kill you via heart disease, and whole milk will not make you fat (I may have to post on that later).
4) Avoid cola drinks. I’m going to refer you to my prior post on this subject for this one.
5) Move around from time to time. Much of the exercise orthodoxy’s advice is inaccurate, but this time they’ve got it right. By staying active, your bones are stimulated to retain the bone mineral density it’s already got. In many different movement activities, there is enough stimulation to the bones via impact forces and gravity to effectively stem the loss of bone tissue. Hey, it isn’t as good for you as strength training, but it definitely helps, and in lieu of strength training, “staying active” is a fine and viable alternative. Most of the time, it’s even fun and enjoyable.