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How New Year’s Resolutions Can Benefit Bones

As we embrace 2022 with optimism and hope for a happy and healthy new year, many of us will make resolutions to help reset, refocus and re-energise our lives. With fewer social engagements in January, following the merriment of the festive season, it serves as the perfect time to prioritise health and wellbeing goals.

Increasing exercise, improving diet, achieving a good BMI, stopping smoking and reducing or abstaining from alcohol are some of the most popular New Year’s resolutions which are made by millions of people every year. And they are not made in vain: these goals have an abundance of positive effects on our bodies, brains and even our bones. If kept, health resolutions will pay dividends to people of all ages! Find out how your resolutions this year can benefit your bones:

1 Exercise Resolution:

Not only is exercise good for our physical, cardiovascular and mental health, weight control, sleep routine, muscle strength and reducing the risk of heart disease, stroke and obesity, it’s also imperative to our bone health.

In the same way exercise works to make our muscles stronger, it helps strengthen our bones too. Bone is a living tissue and just like muscle it responds to forces placed upon it, making it stronger by building more bone and increasing bone density.  Weight bearing exercises are perfect for people of all ages to incorporate into their routines. You don’t actually need to use weights as such as your body weight is the force used to create the resistance.

Additionally, exercise helps to improve our flexibility, coordination and stability, which in turn helps to reduce the risk of falls and the consequential risk of fractures.

Exercise for bone health:

  • Brisk walking, hiking
  • Running, jogging
  • Dancing
  • Stair climbing
  • Tennis
  • Lifting weights like dumbbells and kettlebells
  • Yoga

Before making any sudden or drastic changes to your exercise routine, it’s important to consult with a doctor and introduce activity slowly.

2 Nutrition  Resolution:

Calcium is the most common mineral in the body and is integral to bone health, helping to keep them strong and healthy. Calcium is used by the body to support muscle, nerve and heart functions. If there is not enough calcium in the body to perform these functions, it will take resources from the bones, which can cause the bones to weaken and increase the risk of brittle bones or diseases such as osteoporosis.

Additionally, the body also needs vitamin D to help assist with the absorption of calcium and promote strong, healthy bones. This is best obtained through sunshine but during winter, supplementation may be beneficial.

Best sources of calcium:

  • Dairy foods – milk, cheese, yoghurt
  • Leafy green vegetables – broccoli, spinach
  • Beans and pulses
  • Oily fish – salmon and sardines

Sources of vitamin D:

  • Late spring/summer sunshine (beware winter sunshine isn’t strong enough)
  • Egg yolks
  • Oily fish – salmon, sardines, mackarel and herring
  • Red meat

3 BMI Resolution:

Achieving and maintaining a healthy BMI is essential to bone health – being underweight or overweight can be hugely detrimental to our bones.

People who are underweight have less padding around their bones, which can increase the risk of bones breaking or fracturing after a fall. They also have an increased risk of lower bone mineral density, which increases the likelihood of osteopenia, osteoporosis and bone fragility.

People who are overweight put excessive strain on their bones and fat can also be hidden and stored in the bones, causing them to become fragile and increasing the risk of fractures.

There are many BMI calculators online and lots of help and groups available to help support weight control.

4 Stop Smoking Resolution:

Smoking has a direct link to decreasing bone density which, in turn, is a major risk factor for osteoporosis. Smoking can also have other catastrophic effects on health such as lung cancer and heart disease so setting a New Year resolution to give up smoking is definitely worth making and keeping. There is lots of support, advice and help available for smoking cessation, the NHS is a great place to start.

5 Reduce Alcohol Resolution:

Heavy alcohol consumption can compromise bone health by decreasing the bone density and increasing the risk of osteoporosis, osteopenia and other bone thinning diseases. Alcohol has detrimental effects on calcium levels on the body, altering the way it is absorbed and leaching it from the bones. It also negatively affects the absorption of vitamin D, which is needed to help the body take up calcium. Additionally, alcohol affects the liver which plays a crucial role in activating vitamin D.

Hormones are also negatively affected by alcohol, causing oestrogen decline which in turn leads to bone loss.

Bone building Resolution:

Supplementing your diet with bonebalance™  is a good step to help support strong healthy, flexible bones, especially if you are at risk of osteoporosis or entering menopause. This 100% natural Food for Special Medical Purpose (FSMP) supplement is approved for the dietary management of osteoporosis and osteopenia. Optimized to be highly absorbed into bone tissue where it can help to stimulate the body’s bone building cells, bonebalance™ gets to work in just six days. Find out more about how bonebalance works.