Make no bones about it. As we approach middle age, the bare-bone truth about your skeleton is that, especially in pre and post menopausal women, you can only maintain or lose bone density. You cannot naturally regain it. There are some strong prescription medicines out there that reverse bone density but you've only got to look at the precaution/side effects label on those drugs to try a more holistic route if at all possible.
Do you try to consume 1000 milligrams of calcium everyday? That's about three cups of milk or 12 cups of ice cream. Most multi-vitamins do not add much calcium because it interferes with the absorption of other vitamins.
Many of my girl friends going through reverse puberty, as I like to think of it, take no calcium supplement. The only dairy they consume is milk in their Venti Latte.
The changing face of fitness is about keeping what you've got. Maintaining, and not losing bone strength, should be a daily priority.
What should you do?
-- Take a 1200mg supplement of calcium along with 1000 mg of Vitamin D. Taking a calcium supplement with added vitamin D boosts calcium absorption and look for one with Vitamin K which helps form bone protein. These can be taken as chocolate chewies that taste okay. Think mini tootsie rolls for baby boomers with 20 calories each. You eat two per day, preferably one in the mid-morning and one in mid-afternoon. They should be taken separately since your body can only absorb 500 milligrams of calcium at a time.
Calcium fortified orange juice has the same amount of calcium as an equal amount of milk. If you are not a milk drinker, it is worth the extra pennies because the Vitamin C in the OJ also aids calcium absorption.
Bone health may seem monotonous but decreased bone density is a major cause of fractures in postmenopausal women, mostly wrist, long bones of the foot, spine and hip, with hip fractures increasing significantly later in life.
What Exercises Will Help?
Resistance exercise, also called strength training exercise, can make bones stronger so that if you do fall down, nothing will break.
--Twenty daily push-ups -- starting with kneeling push-ups, then progressing to full length over time.
-- Planks -- Because this exercise forces you to hold up your own body weight and all weight-bearing activities increase bone strength, planks are a great way to increase upper body strength. Do six planks, holding each one for thirty seconds, increasing your hold time gradually.
-- Squats and Lunges -- As we age these are two basic movements of daily life. Every time you go up stairs, you are doing a mini-lunge. Every time you bend down to pick something up, you are doing a squat. Since these two movements use the largest muscles in our bodies, our quads and our glutes, strengthening these muscles will support your skeleton. It will also ease our ability to move through our daily activities. And when moving through your day is easier, your energy will go up and you will get more done.
-- Bicep Curls -- Every time you open the fridge, don't just pour yourself some milk, but also do some bicep curls with the gallon of milk. Try 10 reps in each arm and build up from there.
-- For more ideas, watch my video on how to add strength training to your daily life.
Getting stronger does not happen in a noticeably drastic way. Little daily changes make a difference over a lifetime. Strength can be gained and your bones can be maintained by adding these simple activities every day. If you think details don't matter, remember that if you had one chromosome different on the end of one of your DNA strands, you'd be a monkey.