This article is about the importance of maintaining our bones and muscles to make us enjoy a healthy lifestyle. First, let us start with a short introduction on our bone system. It is good to know that we are born with over 270 bones. When the skeleton is formed it is made up of flexible cartilage, within a few weeks it undergoes a process of ossification which consists of two main components: calcium phosphate and stretchy collagen. The process of ossification and fusion, in some cases, are completed in about 20 years. As we become adult, our skeleton will consist of 206 bones which are light, but strong enough to support the entire weight of the body.
Weight and healthy bones and muscles
Body Mass Index (BMI) is a good indication of how you are doing in terms of weight. You can determine your personal BMI from the BMI chart below. BMI is a function of your weight (horizontal axis) and your height (vertical axis) using contour lines for different values of BMI or colors for different BMI categories. BMI has an impact on your health as it is the weight a person has to impart on his legs.
Healthy bones and muscles to protect your vital organs
Bones play a very important part in our body; they provide support and shape us up.
a. They act as the first parts to protect vital parts of our body,
b. They act as shields to the brain,
c. They shelter the heart, liver and lungs,
d. They protect the spinal cord and secure the muscles.
In many ways, they are the essential elements that keep us mobile and in shape. We have everything to gain if we take care of our bones from the early stage of our life, so that they stay strong at all ages and contribute to our healthy condition. The main recommendations to achieve a healthy bone structure and muscle are to have a well balanced nutrition, to control our weight by regular exercises, to have proper intake of calcium and Vitamin D.
Furthermore, one vital function of our bones is to protect the Bone Marrow - the flexible tissue found in the interior of bones. Bone Marrow produces new blood cells and is a key component of the lymphatic system that supports the body's immune system.
How to stay healthy in old age
Our bones, muscles and joints are affected by the natural ageing process that our body undergoes. The common ailments associated with bones as we age may come from osteoarthritis, osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis. If severe, these ailments may provoke discomfort during movement or even disability. However, the muscles and bones when maintained properly through proper diet, regular exercise can reduce or reverse the risk of discomfort and disability.
Our bones are 90% developed when we reach 21 years of age; it is therefore important that we start caring for them by taking sufficient dosage of calcium at the very early stage of our life. If we want to stay in good physical shape, have an excellent posture and avoid potential broken hips or curved vertebrae as we age, it is important that we maintain our bones and muscles.
Tips to keep your bones and muscles healthy
Following are guidelines to help you to have a healthy bones and muscles and maintain them healthy at all times:
- Birth to age 20
Drink sufficient amount of milk (a good source of calcium) or take in other calcium-rich nutrients to help you achieve your peak bone mass.
Get sufficient Vitamin D to help the calcium to metabolize (400 IU a day)
Have healthy food intake consisting of fresh vegetables, fruits that contain lots of vitamins and minerals
Exercise for about 30 minutes or more
- Adults after 20
Keep your good habits of having well balanced diet and exercise. This will help to maintain your bones and muscles and prevent bone problems while aging
Exercise at least 30 minutes five times a week
Take at least two servings of calcium-rich foods (milk, yogurt, cheese), vegetables and fruits daily
Avoid smoking which slows down the absorption of calcium and vitamin D by your body.
- Older than 60 years
Keep up doing exercises and maintain a good nutrition
Get your doctor’s advice and have a blood test and to assess the dosage of Calcium and Vitamin D appropriate to your condition
In cases of detection of bone loss, the predicament can be mitigated by a variety of bone strengthening therapies to help prevent serious problems
The sun is a good source of vitamin D, however use of sunscreen to block harmful UV rays may have an effect on its efficacy, thus it is recommended to make up the difference by taking Vitamin D supplements (800-1,000 IU per day)