Bone Maintenance for Life

skeltonYour bones have got your back –  and your legs, arms and skull too.  They are 206 little structures that you don’t want to take for granted.  I’ve got a few easy tips for keeping them strong and vital, and for saving you a lot of  “aggravation”  down the line.

We all know the primary role of bones in the human  body right?  They support your whole structure, and provide protection for the internal organs.  But did you know that they are indirectly important to the performance of your heart and also your immunity to disease?  Never forget that your body is an integrated organism, most components have a critical interplay with the others and the whole system is only as strong as its weakest link.

There is a commercial making the airwaves (or cablewaves) right now about a bone promoting drug that has gained a lot of popularity.  It’s of the class of drugs known as bisphosphonates, which slow bone reapsorption and degradation from cells called osteoclasts.  These drugs work fairly well against osteoporosis, but I have a “bone to pick” with this ad nonetheless.  The subject in the commercial laments on how your body “robs the calcium from your bones”.  This is ludicrous.  If your bloodstream is low on calcium your body must draw from your bones or you will simply die.  Calcium is critical for nerves to function, in fact without it no muscle can contract, and that includes your heart.

So we come to the second important duty of your bones, the repository for needed calcium in a shortage.  This clearly illustrates the importance of getting enough in the diet.  Magnesium, phosphorus and traces of boron are also required by the way, as are the vitamins K and D.  See this earlier post on that:  Magnesium  and here:  Vit D and K

The other function of your bones is the formation of red and white blood cells which occurs in the marrow.  They are thus critical to both cellular respiration (oxygen transportation) and immune function.    All together its east to see that your bones do far more than merely “hold you up.”   Here are the easiest ways to ensure that they can do their job:

1.  Be sure to get enough of the raw materials as shown above, calcium, magnesium, etc.  These are available in animal and plant sources and also in supplements.

2.  Lesser known is the importance of getting adequate protein.  Studies have shown that ingestion of insufficient protein can weaken the bones.

3.  Be sure to consume plenty of fruits and vegetables.  They are vital for maintaining the body’s healthy ph level which is around 7.35 to 7.4.  If you consume an inbalance of protein to vegetables the body may become too acidic, and calcium will be lost as a result.

Finally, if you wish to keep your bones strong they will have to have a reason to be that way.  Their first function is for support, so they must undergo periodic stress now and then, and that means weight bearing physical exertion.  Walking is often advocated for this, but it is actually minimally effective as a bone-ensurer.  The solution?  Here is what I think is the easiest and quickest way to work out those bones:

Find yourself an object that you can easily carry with moderate exertion for a short distance.  It makes no difference what it is – a dumbbell, piece of luggage or even a bag of dirt.  If you are older (60’s or beyond) or  way out of shape you might opt for something in the 15-25 pound range per se.  If you are fairly fit and younger you might go for about 40-50 lbs.  Now perform your routine after work or after dinner walk or run.
A  15 -20 minute stroll would suffice, and of course this is the minimum that the experts recommend  for general health.  You should now be  sufficiently warmed up for the next leg of your workout which is to carry that selected object for about 2 minutes, which might take you a distance of about 200 meters – depending upon your pace.    And that’s all there is to it. It’s that simple.  No “pumping iron”, no lengthy calisthenics session;  if you detest any form of workout this little weight carring session will provide significant benefit for you, particularly if you cannot bring yourself to perform any particular regimen.  Carrying a fairly heavy object involves many supportive muscles.  It should leave you a bit breathless, but that is a good thing.   The beauty is that it’s over and done with in minutes,  – quickly and painlessly.  What else can you ask for?

Thi is just another idea for simplifying fitness in a hectic world by yours truly.   Give it a try and see for yourself!

About Warren Dostie

Fitness trainer, author and avid anti-aging specialist. Age 55
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