Building Up Bones for a Lifetime

What’s one of the worst errors that young people make early in life? It’s the failure to practice preventive medicine. So, let’s have a talk with young people about how to protect their bones for a lifetime.
We know that kids of all ages break bones playing sports. It’s annoying when this happens, leaving them sidelined from sports and play with friends for a few weeks.
But breaking a bone becomes more than an inconvenience for adults, as full recovery becomes less likely. The older one is, the more breaking a bone may have life-changing consequences, including being forever consigned to a wheelchair. But why do bones become brittle with age, and can it be avoided?
Many people think bones are hard and unchanging like cement. It’s a misconception. To the contrary, bones are constantly undergoing microscopic changes. One group of cells is slowly destroying bone while another group is building up bone. During the early years more bone is produced. But later on, more bone is destroyed.
Look on bones like a bank. A habit of saving money in the bank will mean more to spend later. It’s a comfort to know the investment is guaranteed to pay off. When the inevitable withdrawals begin, there will be no dependency on others for mobility.
Weak bones are the cause of a lot of medical problems. Studies show that over 10 million North Americans have weak bones and an increased risk of bone fracture. But what’s more worrying is that another 40 million have a condition called “osteopenia”, increased weakness of bones from loss of calcium, and a much greater risk of a broken bone. If this happens, the result may be deadly.
Broken bones send more people to hospital than heart attacks, breast cancer, and strokes among women 55 and older. Dr. E. Michael Lewiecki, Director of the New Mexico Clinical Research and Osteoporosis Center in Albuquerque, says, “We’ve reached a global crisis.”
How do you keep out of a wheelchair? Diet will always be vital. But there’s a problem, starting the breakfast young people eat. Many breakfast cereals are loaded with sugar and calories. But they’re dietary disasters increasing the risk of obesity and Type 2 diabetes. The producers of these products should be ashamed, and consumers should make smarter choices. Children should insist their parents buy whole wheat cereals. And these healthier cereals should be eaten with a banana or another fruit and calcium-rich milk. This is the start for stronger bones and a longer life.
Throughout life, diet continues to be of vital importance. Fish provides generous amounts of magnesium and potassium which add strength to bone. And don’t neglect daily sources of calcium that preserve bone.
Vitamin D is important as it helps the absorption of calcium. Vitamin K2 directs calcium to the bone and inhibits blood vessel calcification. And pay attention to protein which makes up a hefty proportion of bone.
Weight bearing exercise such as walking as well as balance and flexibility exercises keep muscles and bones stronger. There’s no better proof of the benefits of exercise than this discovery. A young man lost one arm in a tragic accident. This meant he had to use his other arm more frequently. Later when this other arm was X-rayed the bones were twice their original size.
So, children, save your money and your bones by eating well and by a lifetime of physical activity. After all, who wants to be in a wheelchair later in life?
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