When our dog Chip was just a young pup, something in his DNA told him to hide the bone we gave him in the backyard. He coveted, cherished, and protected that bone.
He was instinctively BoneSmart.
Perhaps the difference between dogs and people is that the bones they protect and cherish are something they see, touch, and chew.
The bones we need to protect are out of sight. Often other potential health risks receive the spotlight like heart disease and cancer but our bones are important too.
Bones are the very foundation of our bodies that allow us to stand, walk, dance, work, hug, lift, climb, and more.
They are not on the priority list for many people when it comes to overall health awareness or monitoring.
Maybe it’s because people can’t see their bones. Out of sight, out of mind.
Maybe because people think that bone loss and osteoporosis only happen to elderly, white women. Not true!
What if we cared for our bones like our dogs care for theirs? Nurturing, protecting, (but perhaps not chewing!)
Sometimes we just need a gentle nudge to step up and take charge.
Here’s what you need to know
- Do your weight-bearing exercise
(dance, tennis, weight-bearing Pilates, hiking, jump rope, high-intensity interval training “HIIT”- for its bone-building impact…)
- Strengthen your muscles
Adults naturally lose 1% of their leg strength per year over age 50. Working on spinal extension and leg muscle strength are two of the best activities to prevent falls and age-related changes in posture. (think hand weights, resistance bands, gym machines) Joan here is demonstrating hip and leg strength, spine extension strength, and arm strength, all with excellent alignment during our Superpowers 30min. bone-safe strength training class.
- Practice static and dynamic balance
- Lift a leg – can you be still and steady? That’s static balance.
- Dynamic balance involves standing on one leg while moving something else like your arms, your lifted leg, your head, or bending and straightening your supporting leg. When you’re confident with static balance this is the next functional step.
- Get outside in the sunshine. Make your phone call a walking chat and get your Vitamin D at the same time. Chip’s favorite Tip –
“Walk Me and get your D!”
- Get as many bone-healthy nutrients through your food (salmon, sardines, dairy if you tolerate it, almonds…)
- Take any necessary supplements for bone health
- Vit D is essential for bone health and we typically don’t get enough just from outdoors especially if we live in certain regions that don’t get a lot of sun. It plays a key role in calcium absorption and helps regulate bone turnover.
- We all know the importance of calcium for bone health. Supplements can help if your diet isn’t providing enough.
- Vit C helps form protein collagen essential for bone mineralization.
- Vit K helps deliver calcium to the bone. If you’re deficient it can lead to low bone density and increase your risk of fracture.
- Consult with your doctor regarding the right supplements and dosage specific to your biochemistry.
Author (with help from Chip) – Teresa Maldonado Marchok, PT, NCPT
Founder and Creator of the BoneSmart Pilates® Method and DVD Series
Ambassador for the national organization “American Bone Health”