Men and women reach their peak bone mass between 28 and 30 years of age. After age 30, bone loss sets in. Too much bone loss can lead to osteoporosis.
All female Soldiers should know that bone loss happens especially quickly in women. This is because:
- Women tend to have naturally smaller and less dense bones than men.
- Menopause causes a drastic decrease in estrogen, a hormone in women’s bodies that protects bones.
Luckily, there’s an easy solution. The higher your peak bone mass, the more bone you have in the bank, and the less likely you are to face injuries once bone loss begins.
Ladies, work these easy habits into your routine to build your bone bank to be a stronger female Soldier.
Ramp Up Your Calcium Intake
Turns out, Mom was right. Drinking milk helps you grow up strong. That’s because milk contains calcium, which helps your body build and maintain bone strength (and a healthy smile).
As a female Soldier, you should consume 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day—this is equivalent to one glass of milk, one slice of cheese, and one cup of yogurt.
Dairy isn’t your thing? There are plenty of non-dairy calcium boosters. Munch on white beans, almonds, oranges, and leafy greens, such as kale and spinach, to reach your daily calcium goal.
Be sure to talk to your medical health professional before taking calcium supplements. Too much calcium can hurt your health.
Spend 10 to 15 Minutes in the Sun Daily
Whip out those sunglasses and head outside—10 to 15 minutes of sunshine per day helps build stronger bones. Your body absorbs vitamin D from the sunlight, which helps you break down and absorb calcium.
In addition to soaking up the rays, you can also add vitamin D to your diet daily. Eggs, cheese, mushrooms, and fatty fish, such as tuna and salmon, are all excellent sources of vitamin D. Again, be sure to talk to your medical health professional before taking any vitamin supplements.
Spending time outside has other health benefits in addition to building bone strength. It increases your concentration, boosts your mood, and reduces stress.
Do 12 Crunches a Day
Strength training is an effective way to help your bones grow strong by helping them hold in calcium. Regular and consistent physical activity will also help slow down bone loss as you get older.
Doctors recommend getting started by doing 12 push-ups, pull ups, crunches, or leg squats per day. After three to four weeks, add weights and increase repetitions. Check out this strength training routine from ACE Fitness for ideas.
Added bonus: strength training helps you lose fat, build lean muscle, and burn more calories.
- Check out these 10 tips to help you build healthier bones.
- Smoking doubles your chance of bone loss. Find the support you need to quit tobacco.