Exercise, Nutrition, and Bone Health
Performance Coach Amy Nguyen,
B.S. Foods & Nutrition, M.S. candidate Exercise Physiology & Nutritional Sciences
Our bones are constantly being remodeled and maintained through a balance of breakdown (bone resorption) and building (bone formation). When you're young, your body makes new bone faster than it breaks down old bone, and your bone mass increases. Adolescence is a very important time for bone health and development. People with lower peak bone mass are at higher risk of fractures and osteoporosis in the future. Up to 90% of peak bone mass is reached by age 18 in girls and by age 20 in boys1, which makes youth the best time to focus on exercise and nutrition to invest in bone health. Most people reach their peak bone mass around age 30. After that, bone remodeling continues, but you lose slightly more bone mass than you gain. Why worry about bone health? Low bone mass leads to increased risk of fractures. Osteoporosis is a disease that affects over 10% of the population, with approximately 54 million Americans having bone breakage due to osteoporosis. This equates to $19 billion in related costs every year.2 People with lower peak bone mass are at higher risk of fractures and osteoporosis in the future.
Nutrition and weight bearing exercise are two lifestyle choices that can influence the risk of fracture. Physical activity is associated with good bone health. Particularly weight-bearing and resistance exercises, as weight is placed on the bone it puts the bone under strain sending a signal to form new bone. Weight-bearing exercises like walking, hiking, jogging, climbing stairs, playing tennis, and dancing force you to work against gravity. Resistance exercises – such as lifting weights also strengthens bone.3 Other exercises like swimming and bicycling can help build and maintain muscles and have cardiovascular benefits, but they are not the best exercises for bone building. Cross-training these types of exercises/sports with resistance exercise is recommended for maximizing bone health and overall health (like the types of workouts we provide in our Olympus Performance Fitness classes)! Key nutrients when it comes to bone health are adequate energy intake, calcium, vitamin D, and protein. It’s important to maintain a well balanced diet for our overall health, but inadequate intake of any of those key nutrients can affect your bone health. calcium rich sources will be foods like dairy, broccoli or dark leafy vegetables, sardines or calcium fortified foods. Our main source of Vitamin D is sunlight and there are very few foods that contain Vitamin D in adequate amounts (e.g. fatty fish, egg yolks). Protein sources like meat, dairy, eggs, and fish are considered high-quality and complete proteins. Meaning they have a high digestible value. Plant protein sources on the other hand have a different amino acid profile from that of animal protein. Plant proteins require you to combine different foods to make a complete protein. For older adults adequate nutrition will aid in maintaining better long term bone health. For athletes, stress fractures in sport make up about 15% of injuries, so strengthening bone with proper nutritional intake can help prevent injury.4 Sports Dietitians recommend athletes get 1000-1300mg Calcium/day, 1500-2000IU Vitamin D/day, and 20-30g of high quality protein/meal.
Questions or curious for more info? You can discuss your dietary calcium requirements and bone health with our Naturopathic Doctor in further detail. For a test for any vitamin or mineral deficiency please consult our ND Dr. Elaine! Interested in getting your resistance and weight bearing exercise going? Contact us to get set up to try your first class with one of our Performance Coaches!
Author: Annemarie Alf
"We Specialize In Optimizing Teen And Active Adult Lives In North County San Diego By Addressing The WHOLE Person. We offer A Holistic, Integrative Approach To Performance And Wellness That Will Assess And Address The Root Causes That Lead To Pain, Hormonal Imbalances, Fatigue, Weight Gain And/ Or Decreased Performance."