Bone health is often something we don’t pay much attention to when we’re young. We don’t typically think about the importance of it until we age and the consequences become our reality. Unfortunately, in contrast, the majority of the impact that we have on our bone health occurs at a much younger age. In fact, we reach peak bone mass by the age of 19 to 20 years old. From age 20-40 we are just maintaining our bone mass at best. See this graph (figure 1) for a great visual.
When we aren’t supporting our bone health with the right diet, exercise, and lifestyle choices, we put our body at higher risk for injury, now AND in the future. Unfortunately, once bone is lost, we can’t make up for it after a certain age, potentially leading to conditions like osteoporosis (low bone density). Often times you may hear of an athlete or may have a friend that just keeps getting injured. When this is the case, it may be because their bones aren’t as strong as they should be for their age. This can often be due to an imbalance between nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle choices. Although not all injuries can be prevented, it’s important to note what we can do at a young age to optimize our bone health, prevent injury, and live an injury-free active lifestyle as we age.
Do you keep asking yourself, “why do I keep getting injured?”. Nutrition and other lifestyle factors play a huge part in building and maintaining strong bones. Oftentimes a lack of balance between your food intake and exercise can increase your risk for injury, especially recurring injuries. Here is a list of factors that can increase your risk for poor bone health and injuries:
So, what can you do to optimize your bone health and prevent future injuries? Consider the following:
A healthy period will often last for four or more days and come every 21-35 days. Keep in mind that birth control and IUDs can mask the signs of an abnormal period. Want to learn more? Check out our blog post on How Eating and Exercise Impacts your Period.
You want to be sure that you’re not only eating enough calories (minimum for active women is often 1800-2000 calories), but also the right balance of macronutrients, which includes proteins, fats, and carbs.
Aim for at least 3 servings of dairy and/or non-dairy alternatives daily. If you’re not menstruating regularly or have a history of recurring injuries or osteoporosis in your family, aim for 4 servings per day.
Take rest days, don’t push your body regularly, and incorporate resistance training at least 2 days per week.
Recurring injuries and poor bone health are often a result of disordered habits, lack of knowledge, and a resulting imbalance between food and exercise.
Our team of non-diet registered dietitians specializes in helping active women and men have a healthy relationship with food, exercise, and their body while they learn how to confidently fuel their active lifestyle. You can learn more about our nutrition services here.