Article – Healthy Bones are Happy Bones
By Chris Litten
Happy June to all of you! Hopefully you read last month’s article about aging on your terms and were inspired to put aside one of the six myths I discussed in replace for action. This month join me in exploring our bones. A very consistent reason for taking care of your health and fitness is your bone density. Did you know that in our country a total of 54 million adults aged 50 and over are affected by osteoporosis and low bone mass1? That’s more than one half of the U.S. adult population1! With such a large number of people most likely thinking in some way about their structure, it’s no wonder that “strengthen my bones” shows up on our intake forms as much as it does. If you are one of these people, read on because I’m going to deliver some great information first on what you may want to know about your bone density as well as some proactive ways you can ensure the strength of yours.
What are the numbers?
If you’re reading this your doctor has probably suggested to you that you have your bone mineral density measured. And, in my humble opinion, if you are past 50, I’d listen! The most widely recognized BMD test is called a dual x-ray absorptiometry, or DXA test. The test is painless and very closely resembles getting an x-ray. It is used to measure bone mineral density at both the hip and the spine. After the test is conducted a scoring, called your T-score is given. Simply, it is a range of numbers that speaks to how dense your bones are when compared to the peak bone mineral density of a healthy 30-year-old adult.2 The numbers are either positive or negative. Anything between -1 and +1 is considered normal. Numbers falling between -1 and -2.5 are indicators of low bone mass relative to normal. Anything from -2.5 or further is a diagnosis of osteoporosis with the more negative number speaking to the severity of your osteoporosis. It is important to note that another score, called your Z-score, can also be used when interpreting your numbers. Unlike your T-score which reflects how your BMD compares to those of a healthy 30-year-olds, your Z-score is a comparison of your bones with those of your age group. It is used primarily to determine if your bone mineral changes are normal for someone your age or if your deviations are more extreme.
What Can I Do to Protect My BMD?
There are several keys to protecting your bone mineral density. The ones we are going to take a look at together are your sun exposure, your dietary intake of Vitamin D and calcium, and your exercise program.
Getting our sunshine on a daily basis is one surefire way to fortify our bones. Vitamin D is made in the skin upon its exposure to solar radiation and is a necessary ingredient for skeletal health because it aids in helping us to absorb calcium. Factors such as season, time of day, length of day, cloud cover, smog, skin melanin content, and sunscreen are among the factors that make determining how much sun you need a bit more challenging. A good general guideline is 5 – 30 minutes of sun exposure between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. at least twice weekly to the face, arms, legs, or back without sunscreen.3 If you are fair skinned you will want to lean towards the lesser amount of time and if you are dark skinned you will want to be at or even beyond the greater amount of time. These summer months we are heading into bring with them intense heat so just make sure that you’re also hydrating. We don’t want you dehydrating in pursuit of fortifying your bones!
The food choices we make on a daily basis can also be used strategically to ensure that we are giving our bones their best shot of staying dense and healthy. We can derive both calcium and Vitamin D from them. Surprisingly, very few foods actually contain Vitamin D. However there are some that you may want to include more regularly into your diet if you have concerns for your bones. The flesh of fatty fish such as tuna, mackerel, and salmon as well as fish liver oils provide the best sources of food-based Vitamin D. Other sources include beef, liver, cheese, and egg yolks. Also, some mushrooms contain naturally occurring Vitamin D. There are also many fortified options such as milk, some brands of orange juice, yogurts, and ready-to-eat breakfast cereals.
If you want to boost your levels of D through food, aim for at least 400 IUs, or international units, per the recommendation of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Most food labels however will not show you the amount of Vitamin D present unless it is greater than 20% of the daily values set by the FDA so you are wise to at least educate yourself a bit on the values naturally occurring in foods such as the ones I listed above. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Nutrient Database is a great resource for doing this.4 The website lists the nutrient content of many foods and provides a comprehensive list of foods containing Vitamin D arranged by nutrient content and by food name. Go to the site and click “Nutrient Lists” found on the left side bar. From their simply enter “Vitamin D (IU)” from the “First Nutrient” drop down menu, adjust “Sort By” to “Nutrient Content” and choose foods that you like from the database to achieve your Vitamin D goal each day.
Calcium is a little easier to come by in our foods with some solid options being dark leafy greens such as kale or cooked spinach, almonds, canned fish with bones such as sardines, cooked broccoli, green beans, navel oranges, and sesame seeds. The FDA suggests that we aim for around 1200 milligrams per day after the age of 50. Before then 1000 milligrams should do it. These suggestions are simply that. Make sure you’re talking with your doctor before dialing in what your needs are.
When you pick up a weight that is challenging to lift it sends a message to your body to fortify by building muscle and bone. This is the general purpose of lifting progressively heavier weights. Research has demonstrated over and over that given the right dose of calcium and Vitamin D, your bones will improve in density if the resistance placed on them during an exercise program is consistent, progressive, and demanding enough to stimulate a response. Some basic tenets to ensure that your program is set up properly are to lift weights at least 2 and up to 3 times each week. A program that includes the most weight bearing on your spine and hips will produce the best outcomes. So, be sure yours includes one or more of squats, lunges, step ups, and/or leg press; preferably lying down if you can do so for the spinal loading benefit.
Jarring forces such as those incurred from running and jumping are also great exercise options for building bone density. However, do be careful. If your bone density is already showing signs of loss it may not be in your best interest to start here. Always use sound judgment when approaching your bone health and talk to a professional about what is most appropriate for you.
I hope that this information has been helpful for you. If you found something that was of particular benefit to you, please tell me. And on the flip side, if something did not agree with you, also let me know and I will do my best to clear up any confusion.
1- “54 Million Americans Affected by Osteoporosis and Low Bone Mass.” 54 Million Americans Affected by Osteoporosis and Low Bone Mass. NOF, 2 June 2014. Web. 01 May. 2018. <http://nof.org/news/2948>.
2- “Bone Mass Measurement: What the Numbers Mean.” Bone Mass Measurement: What the Numbers Mean. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, Jan. 2012. Web. 01 May. 2018. <http://www.niams.nih.gov/health_info/bone/bone_health/bone_mass_measure.asp>.
3-Holick, MF. Vitamin D Deficiency. N Engl J Med 2007; 357: 266 – 81
4- “NDL/FNIC Food Composition Database Home Page.” NDL/FNIC Food Composition Database Home Page. USDA Agricultural Research Service, National Agricultural Library, 7 Dec. 2011. Web. 01 May. 2018. <http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/>.
1. What was the reason you decided to go to a trainer?
I needed the proper guidance and structure that would get me on the path of a healthier lifestyle. I had always included cardio in my daily routine (primarily riding a stationary bike), but I was not seeing any gains, as far as my health. I knew that having a diversified workout routine was better for the body. So, I made the smart decision to go to a professional and the best trainers in Tucson.
2. Did you consider or participate in any other form of treatment for your reason before seeking a trainer? Examples: physical therapist, acupuncturist, medication
No, I knew it was not necessary in my situation.
3. How did you hear about BodyBasics?
I met Chris Litten when he came to instruct my son and other little league baseball players on proper stretching. I didn’t realize it at the time, but BodyBasics was right next to my law office and I went to pay Chris a visit.
4. Did you evaluate other gyms or trainers before deciding on coming to Us? If yes, what were other places missing that BodyBasics was able to provide?
No, after meeting Chris and visiting the facility I knew I found a perfect spot.
5. Ultimately, why did you choose BodyBasics over other options?
The detailed guidance I received from my first visit and health analysis told me that I was in the right place!
6. What goals did you have when you started at BodyBasics?
I wanted to find the inspiration to become healthier and lose weight.
7. How long have you been training at BodyBasics and what specifically have you achieved over that interval?
I have been training at BodyBasics since November 2012 (5 ½ years). During that time I have lost 65 pounds, gained greater flexibility, increased my muscle tone and have accomplished some incredible achievements that I would have never envisioned in 2012. I have completed 4 full marathons (26.2 miles), several half marathons and trail races. I now run about 20 miles per week and my overall health has improved incredibly.
8. What current goals are you pursuing with your trainers at BodyBasics?
At this point in my training I have focused more on maintaining my health, working on better posture, and loosening up my very tight legs and muscles.
Welcome New and Returning Clients
The greatest compliment we can receive is a referral from one of our clients or allied health network!
Paul Andrew ~ referred by a blast from our past Susie Hilkemeyer
Celia Hildebrand ~ referred by our one and only Juliana Osinchuk
Beverly Teran ~ found us via Google search (and teaching both of Chris’ kids in middle school!)
Patricia Harris ~ referred by our one and only Shelley Phipps
Karen Williams ~ referred by our one and only Shelley Phipps
Sharon and Charlie Spreen ~ referred by our one and only team of Stephanie and Ross Henderson
Steve Llewellyn ~ referred by our one and only Shelley Phipps
Shout outs are about us voicing victories we witness you all having at BodyBasics. We’ll keep it to our top 5 each month.
Laura Haines ~ for all of the hard work she put in prior to her trip to Maui. Goal number one accomplished as she was able to be physically participate in every activity she had hoped to be able to do!
Robert Delaney ~ for recently transitioning to floor based exercise. Valuable as he’s realized getting up and off of the floor has attributed greatly to improvements in walking and overall balance!
Marny Wellman ~ for her dedication to regaining her leg strength and demonstrating it through her progress with squatting (20 in a row now), one of many of her favorite exercises!
Carole Massanari ~ for triumphantly accomplishing her goal of finding and implementing a long-term solution to a nagging pain that was putting a serious damper on her activities! Congrats Carole!
Bob Plymyer ~ for picking up right where he left off and delivering his best, both inside and outside of the studio!
Recipe – Summer Squash Soup
Arrange oven rack in the center of your oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Slice squash and arrange on cooking sheet.
Drizzle olive oil over squash and rub into squash using your hands.
Roast squash for 25 minutes.
While squash is roasting, set large stock pan or saucepan on medium heat. Add olive oil and chopped onions. Saute for 20 minutes, stirring frequently. Add oil as needed if onions start to stick to pan. Reduce heat to avoid over cooking/burning onions if needed.
Once onions have caramelized, add stock and roasted squash.
Stir contents, return to simmer, and cover. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste broth and add salt and pepper as needed.
Once contents have cooked down, remove from heat. Use an immersion blender to puree soup contents. (If using a blender, transfer half of soup contents to blender and blend until smooth. Then transfer second half and do the same.
Once pureed, taste again and add salt/pepper as needed.
Transfer to bowl and garnish as desired! (Bacon crumbles, a swirl of cream/yogurt, cilantro, and red paprika are my favorites!)
Due to the limited ingredients, this soup has a soft but noticeable texture which I love. If you are looking for a more cream-based squash soup- make sure you add 2 dollops of cream or yogurt when blending. That will get you the “creamy” effect you may be looking for.
LOVE THIS RECIPE?
Discover more from Darcie’s blog at www.naturbaker.com!
Love this recipe? Enjoy more of Darcie’s kitchen adventures at www.naturbaker.com
Exercise Video of the Month – Assisted Active Leg Lower
Farewell Potluck Gathering for Mryra, Ben, and Rachel June 16th 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Join us in celebrating these wonderful people who are all moving on to other chapters in their lives. Bring your favorite dish, or your least favorite depending on what your temperament is, and you wonderful selves. We will be playing some games and of course providing the space for each of these three to have the time and space to say their farewells to all of us.
Chris, Kris, Myrya, Kristian, Lance, Ben, Dustin and Amanda