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Are you exercising and nourishing your bones?

Be sure to pace yourself and find a comfortable speed.

Morehouse,Luella
Luella Morehouse


Let warmer weather insire you to put on your comfortable walking/running shoes and exercise your bones and joints. If you are just getting started with a walking program, start slowly.

Be sure to pace yourself and find a comfortable speed. Take the talk test: If you can’t talk while exercising, slow down, and be sure to drink plenty of water.

If you have been getting little exercise during the winter months, here are the first two weeks from a sample walking program:

Week 1 (three times): Warm up by walking slowly for five minutes, walk briskly for five minutes, then walk slowly for five minutes.

Week 2 (three times): Walk slowly for five minutes, walk briskly for seven minutes, then walk slowly for five minutes.

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Weeks 3 to 12 are provided in “Walk This Way” at www.ag.ndsu.edu/pubs/yf/foods/fn578.pdf , along with safety tips.

Regular physical activity can strengthen bones, reduce pain and improve function of joints, and promote a healthy weight, reduce stress, improve sleep, and help manage diabetes and high blood pressure. Check with your health-care provider for more information.

How much calcium do you need?

We all need calcium, vitamin D and other bone-building nutrients in our diet to maintain our bones. These are the current calcium recommendations from the National Institutes of Health:

  • Children ages 9 to 18: 1,300 milligrams

  • Adults ages 19 to 50: 1,000 milligrams

  • Adult men ages 51 to 70: 1,000 milligrams

  • Adult women ages 51 to 70: 1,200 milligrams

Boys ages 9 to 13, girls ages 9 to 18, women older than 50 and men older than 70 years are most likely to fall short of calcium.
Yogurt, milk, cheese and fish with soft bones that you eat (canned sardines, salmon) are good sources of calcium. Other foods such as kale, broccoli, Chinese cabbage and cooked beans/peas, also contain calcium. Calcium-fortified foods such as cereal and juice provide calcium, too.

If you do not regularly eat these foods, you might need a supplement. Discuss this with your health-care provider.

Question: My aunt has osteoporosis. What can I do to lower my risk?

Try these tips:

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*Eat a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D. Both of these nutrients are now on the Nutrition Facts labels along with the percentage a serving of that food provides.

*Get weight-bearing exercise, such as walking, hiking, jogging, climbing stairs, lifting weights and dancing.

*Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.

*See the NDSU Extension handout “Questions and Answers about Vitamin D” (FN2008) at www.ag.ndsu.edu/publications/food-nutrition/questions-and-answers-about-vitamin-d/fn2008.pdf for more information about vitamin D.

Article used with permission from Julie Garden-Robinson, Food and Nutrition Specialist, NDSU Extension, NOURISH newsletter, Issue 40. For more information, contact the Stutsman County Extension office at 252-9030 or email luella.morehouse@ndsu.edu .

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