As we age, existing bone cells break down faster than new ones are made. This leads to weak and brittle bones, a condition called osteoporosis. In fact, Johns Hopkins scientists say up to 70 percent of women over 50 are at risk for osteoporosis. While a bone density index “T-score” of -1 or above is ideal, if tests reveal yours is below that range, rest assured: You can build stronger bones without pricey prescriptions! Simply pick your favorite activity below and have fun.
Go Apple Picking
Spending as little as 40 minutes daily engaged in fun activities, like picking apples or setting up Halloween decorations, cuts the risk of bone thinning and fractures by 51 percent, suggests research in the Brazilian Journal of Physical Therapy. Study co-author Steve Fraser, PhD, says staying active stimulates bone-building cells called osteoblasts. It also boosts muscle strength and balance so you’re less likely to fall and break a bone.
Sip Pumpkin Ale
Enjoying 12 oz. of beer or 5 oz. of wine daily can halt bone thinning in as little as 24 hours and significantly increase bone density if you make it a daily habit. That’s the word from researchers at Tufts University in Massachusetts, who say the drinks’ unique blend of alcohol and nutrients (silicon and resveratrol) help minerals like calcium soak into—and stay attached to—bone tissue.
Savor Spinach Dip
Indulging in spinach dip and biting into deviled eggs at church potlucks or tailgating parties is great for your bones. They’re not just tasty snacks! Findings in the Journal of Osteoporosis suggest eating 1⁄2 cup of leafy greens and one egg daily lessens your fracture risk by 55 percent. Study co-author Manny Curiel, MD, says these foods are rich in vitamins K-1 and K-2— nutrients essential for building the mesh-like framework that gives bones their strength.
Hop To It
While waiting for your dinner to heat up, switch on the radio and hop from one foot to the other as the next song plays. This fun trick increases bone strength as effectively as osteoporosis drugs, British scientists say. As little as 3 minutes a day of weight-bearing activity (like hopping or dancing) bolsters bones even better than long sessions of high-intensity exercise.
Say goodbye to prescriptions and try these fun tricks to build stronger bones.