Time to strengthen your 25-44 bones

Bones keep growing until around the age of 30, by which time they’ve reached maximum strength and density. From about the age of 40 you start to very gradually lose bone mass (density), so your 20s to 40s are an important time to ensure that you maximize and preserve bone mass.

Why you need to look after your bones.

Throughout life, bone is continually being renewed, with minerals continually being added, but also taken away. There are simple steps you can take to maximise bone formation and minimise the rate of bone loss as you age.

Ensure adequate calcium intake.

Maintaining an adequate intake of calcium is vital. Men and women in their late 20s to 40s require 1000mg of calcium per day from calcium rich foods such as milk and milk products, tofu (some brands), calcium‐enriched soy milk, almonds, brazil nuts, unhulled tahini, canned salmon and sardines containing soft edible bones, plus green leafy vegetables like broccoli, bok choy and spinach.

Keep caffeine in check

Too much caffeine can affect the amount of calcium that our body absorbs. It is recommended to drink no more than two to three cups of coffee, tea or cola, per day.

Moderate alcohol intake

Excess alcohol intake can increase the risk of osteoporosis. It is recommended to drink no more than two standard drinks a day and have at least two alcohol‐free days a week.

Consider a Vitamin D supplement

Although adequate amounts can be achieved through sensible sunlight exposure, some people may benefit from taking a Vitamin D supplement to meet their needs.

Exercise to build bone strength

To support bone health, include a variety of weight‐bearing activities and progressive resistance training several times a week to maintain the bone density and strength that you built up years prior. Here’s a few weight‐bearing and strength training exercise ideas to keep in mind.

Weight‐bearing exercise – It is recommended to do 30 minutes of weight-bearing activity at least four times a week. Each half hour activity can be completed in one stretch or broken up into shorter intervals, as the benefits for bones are the same. Examples of weight bearing exercises include dancing, aerobics, hiking, jogging and running, skipping, tennis and hiking.

Strength training (resistance training) – This involves moving your body, a weight or some other resistance against gravity. This is also known as resistance training and may include lifting dumbbells or using elastic exercise bands and weight machines. Strength training also includes lifting your own body weight, for example doing push‐ups or sit‐ups, and functional movements such as standing and rising up on your toes. Strength training twice a week is recommended.

Circuit training – Researchers have found that alternating between vigorous high‐impact aerobic workouts and exercise stations consisting of push‐ups, sit‐ups, arm curls with dumbbells and presses with barbells, has a positive effect on bone health for young adults and premenopausal women.