Make no bones about it, but your bones are important. Imagine a body without them! It’d be floppy and flimsy, to say the least. Bones protect organs like the heart, brain, and lungs. They also allow you to walk around and reach for objects. Without healthy bones, everyday activities will be a little tricky. So what are you doing to take care of them?
Daily habits matter more than you think. If you’re not careful, the risk for bone problems will increase. A major example is osteoporosis, a debilitating disease that affects 10 percent of the world’s population. Women have a greater risk especially during menopause. In fact, 30 percent of menopausal women suffer from osteoporosis.1
But like most diseases, bone problems don’t happen overnight. They develop silently over time. Plus, at age 30, bone growth stops and then begins to deteriorate.2
That’s where you come in. By avoiding certain habits, it’s possible to slow down that deterioration. Here’s what you should stop doing for healthy, happy bones.
1. Drinking Soda
Soda isn’t just bad for your waistline. It’s high in phosphorus, a mineral that decreases blood levels of calcium. Phosphorus also induces the secretion of bone growth cells, which then decreases vitamin D, an essential nutrient for bone health.
Caffeine also interferes with calcium absorption and excretion. Additionally, all that sugar disrupts mineral balance. It explains why soda is linked to hip fractures in postmenopausal women.3 Time to ditch the fizzy drinks, folks.
2. Drinking Too Much Coffee
In moderation, coffee isn’t the worst drink out there. This antioxidant-rich beverage increases focus, motivation and attention. It can even burn calories and break down fat cells!4 High doses of caffeine, however, can be detrimental to your bones.
Again, caffeine hinders calcium absorption. The effect is even worse for older women, so keep this in mind as you age.5
3. Sitting Around All Day
An inactive lifestyle will only harm your bones. This is especially important if you work at a computer, as most do these days. And while exercise during adolescence has the biggest impact, it’s never too late to break a sweat.6
During the later decades of life, physical activity can slow down bone loss. It’s also associated with a lower risk of fractures.7 For best results, focus on weight bearing exercises like brisk walking and strength training with weights.8
4. Smoking Cigarettes
Smoking doesn’t just harm your heart, lungs, and throat. It also damages the bones, according to the International Journal of Epidemiology. Studies have proven that it reduces bone density, a process that already happens with old age. Together, it’s a recipe for trouble.
The effects are even worse in women. After quitting smoking, the risk of bone fractures lingers in women. Men, on the other hand, see a drop in risk after 5 years.9
5. Wearing High Heels
Beyond the risk for trips and slips, high heels are your bones’ worst enemy. They disrupt the body’s natural form because joints and muscles can’t properly align. The feet, ankles, and legs have no choice but to absorb a lot of shock.
Over time, bones weaken from the repeated load. The risk for joint degeneration, knee osteoarthritis, and overall weak bones will skyrocket!10 The lower body will also be under a lot of pain, making it uncomfortable to exercise and walk around.
|↑1||Bijelic, Radojka, Snjezana Milicevic, and Jagoda Balaban. “Risk factors for osteoporosis in postmenopausal women.” Medical Archives 71, no. 1 (2017): 25.|
|↑2||Osteoporosis: Peak Bone Mass in Women. NIH Osteoporosis and Related Bone Disease National Resource Center.|
|↑3||Fung, Teresa T., Meredith H. Arasaratnam, Francine Grodstein, Jeffrey N. Katz, Bernard Rosner, Walter C. Willett, and Diane Feskanich. “Soda consumption and risk of hip fractures in postmenopausal women in the Nurses’ Health Study.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 100, no. 3 (2014): 953-958.|
|↑4||Harpaz, Eynav, Snait Tamir, Ayelet Weinstein, and Yitzhak Weinstein. “The effect of caffeine on energy balance.” Journal of basic and clinical physiology and pharmacology 28, no. 1 (2017): 1-10.|
|↑5||Massey, Linda K., and Susan J. Whiting. “Caffeine, urinary calcium, calcium metabolism and bone.” The Journal of nutrition 123, no. 9 (1993): 1611-1614.|
|↑6||Karlsson, Magnus K. “Does exercise during growth prevent fractures in later life?.” In Optimizing Bone Mass and Strength, vol. 51, pp. 121-136. Karger Publishers, 2007.|
|↑7||Nguyen, T. V., P. N. Sambrook, and J. A. Eisman. “Bone loss, physical activity, and weight change in elderly women: the Dubbo Osteoporosis Epidemiology Study.” Journal of bone and mineral research 13, no. 9 (1998): 1458-1467.|
|↑8||Exercise and Bone Health. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.|
|↑9||Høidrup, Susanne, Eva Prescott, Thorkild IA Sørensen, Adam Gottschau, Jes Bruun Lauritzen, Marianne Schroll, and Morten Grønbæk. “Tobacco smoking and risk of hip fracture in men and women.” International journal of epidemiology 29, no. 2 (2000): 253-259.|
|↑10||Barkema, Danielle D. The effect of heel height on frontal plane joint moments, impact acceleration, and shock attenuation during walking. Iowa State University, 2010.|