Creaking, bones in the middle of the night, plaintive wails of misery and pain… It’s the stuff of Hallowe’en nightmares. But thankfully you can help prevent the onset of terrifying skeletal disorders with a little foresight.
One of the most important things you can do for skeletal health is to keep active and weight-bearing exercises in particular strengthen our bones. This doesn’t mean that you have to start working on your ‘clean and jerk’, Schwarzneggar-style, however. A great way to strengthen your leg bones is just by walking more – one reason why prehistoric hunter gatherers had much stronger bones than modern humans was their nomadic lifestyle, which saw them walking around 18,000 steps a day, three times as much as our paltry average of around 6,000 steps.
Diet is also important — calcium, of course, but also Vitamin D, vitamin K and magnesium. A quick cheat for getting a food-based bone boost is to eat lots of green and yellow veg, which are linked to more bone mineralisation in childhood and maintenance of bone mass in adulthood. One study even found that eating lots of onions cut the risk of osteoporosis by 20% in women over 50. And protein is important, since it makes up half of our bone mass. However, there is research to suggest that eating both too little or too much can lower calcium levels, so moderation is the key word. And avoid very low calorie diets, which are shown to reduce bone density.
Last but not least, watch your posture. A leading (and possibly increasing) cause of muscular-skeletal disorders is down to the unnatural positions which we adopt when using screens and office furniture. From ganglion cysts, to chronic back and neck pain and horny protrusions [link to earlier article], poor posture has a lot to answer for. If only there were an affordable, stylish and highly portable way to prevent laptop-induced skeletal misery. Oh, wait…!