Strong bones help you sidestep osteoporosis and stay steady on your feet — and some of the best bone-building activities also happen to be a whole lot of fun! Try these scientifically-proven tricks today and keep your bones healthy and strong.
While waiting for your coffee to brew, turn on the radio and hop from one foot to the other for the length of one song. Doing so strengthens your bones as well as prescription osteoporosis drugs! That’s the word from British researchers, who say that three minutes a day of a weight-bearing activity, like hopping or dancing, is more effective at strengthening bones than long sessions of high-intensity workouts. Tip: A blissful song spurs the release of oxytocin, a happiness hormone Brazilian scientists say helps rebuild brittle bones.
Take an LOL break!
Carving out as little as five minutes each hour for a guilt-free “fun break” keeps your bones 15 percent stronger, suggests research published in the journal Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience. That’s because punctuating your day with moments of pure joy — like watching funny online video clips that make you giggle, or reading a chapter or two of a bestselling page-turner — keeps your body’s levels of the bone-depleting stress hormone cortisol low, explain scientists. The feel-good trick: Make sure your R&R breaks total at least 30 minutes per day, which Finnish research suggests is the ideal “dose” to tamp down stress and trigger bone-building.
Sip a cherry smoothie!
The sleep hormone melatonin spurs bone-building cells so much so that women with adequate levels have bones 400 percent denser than those low on melatonin, cutting osteoporosis risk in half. It’s easy to boost by sipping eight ounces of tart cherry juice before bed. Louisiana State University scientists say melatonin-rich tart cherries dial back pain and help folks sleep up to 84 minutes longer. That’s better than Ambien!
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.