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For stronger bones do this not that

Sure, you_ve heard that exercising and getting enough calcium can help ward off osteoporosis, but did you know that following through incorrectly could actually do more harm than good? So can a few other bone-weakening habits. Here, the behaviors that could be causing a problem and the strategies that_ll help keep you in tiptop shape!

Rachel Grumman Bender

Provided by HealthMonitor

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Do this
Pump iron. Add to your fitness regimen upper-body strength training that targets your wrist, arms, shoulders and back. If you're not into weight lifting, try push-ups or resistance bands. "Muscles that pull and push on the bone create forces that stimulate the growth of tissues," says Felicia Cosman, MD, senior clinical director at the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF).

Not that
Focus only on cardio. While doing aerobic activity'like walking and bike riding'is important, strength training is equally necessary, since bones grow stronger when they're met with resistance, says Dr. Cosman. Another exercise misstep: You do strengthening exercises that work only your lower body'you also need to protect the bones above your waist.

Do this
Spread out your calcium intake. If you take supplements, divide doses based on how much calcium you get at each meal. "If you have a cup of low-fat milk at breakfast and a piece of low-fat cheese at lunch, you're in pretty good shape, says Dr. Cosman. "You need to make up only about 300 mg of calcium as a supplement at dinner." She also recommends eating calcium-rich food rather than taking supplements, since the body can better absorb food sources of calcium. If your diet is lacking, check with your healthcare provider before taking supplements.

Not that
Take your calcium pills
all at once. If you swallow a 1,200-mg calcium supplement each morning'the daily recommended amount for adults over 50'your calcium needs are covered, right? Think again. Your body can't absorb the whole dose at once, says Dr. Cosman. If it's hard to keep track of multiple doses, use a pillbox so you can easily see how many you've taken.

Do this
Rein in your salt habit. "Excessive salt can cause you to excrete calcium in your urine, which could weaken your bones," says Dr. Cosman. To cut back: Choose no-salt versions of processed foods, including salad dressing and condiments like ketchup. To control your salt intake at the dinner table or while cooking, fill a small shaker with 1 teaspoon of salt; that's your allotted daily amount.

Not that
Fill your grocery cart with prepackaged foods. If you're buying food that's bagged, boxed or canned, read the label carefully. Processed foods are the biggest sources of salt in our diet. And for every 2,300 mg of sodium (the recommended daily amount) you ingest, your body loses about 40 mg of calcium. Trouble is, most Americans get a minimum of 4,000 mg of sodium a day!


Have a blood test to check your vitamin D level. Knowing if you're deficient is important because the body needs it to absorb calcium. In fact, vitamin D deficiency is common among hip-fracture patients.

Not that
Rely on your multivitamin. Even if you take a multivitamin with D, you should still ask your healthcare provider about checking your blood level. You may need a separate supplement to ensure you're getting'and absorbing'the recommended daily dose of 800 to 1,000 IU. And as with calcium supplements, do not take the entire amount in a single dose.

Do this
Get serious about kicking tobacco. Although you know smoking wreaks havoc on your heart and lungs, you may not realize that it also affects bones. "Smoking accelerates the metabolism and excretion of any estrogen that might be in your system," explains Dr. Cosman. "Because estrogen directly affects the cells that make bone, your body will make bone less efficiently when you smoke." There are many options available to help you quit smoking; ask your doctor for advice.

Not that
Throw in the towel. Don't give up! Studies show that the more attempts you make to quit smoking, the higher your odds of kicking the habit for good.




Myasthenia Gravis Loss of Strength Vitamin D Attention Deficit Disorder Osteoporosis Vitamin D Deficiency Lose Weight Quit Smoking Exercise More

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