Most people don’t think of “bone health” when they think of summer. Instead, many people think of sunny days, beach vacations, and splashing around in the pool. However, summer is actually the perfect time to focus on the health of your bones. At Houston Physicians’ Hospital, we know the importance of taking care of your bones, so we’ve listed some ways to increase bone health this summer:
- Snack on Seasonal, Polyphenol-Rich Foods
Thanks to ample sunshine and warm weather, produce is abundant in the summer. Much of this produce is rich in polyphenols, a group of plant-based chemicals. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, polyphenols also play a role in bone health, with an association between increased polyphenol intake and decreased risk of bone fractures (1). This season try increasing your intake of blackberries, raspberries, beets, or cherries to give your bones a boost of polyphenols.
- Spend Time in the Sun
Spending time in the sun is an easy way to help your bones this summer. Sunlight helps our body produce vitamin D, which allows our body to produce calcium. The National Osteoporosis Foundation states that those who do not get enough vitamin D are at a greater risk for broken bones and bones loss (2). For your daily dose of vitamin D, try spending at least 20-30 minutes a day in direct sunlight. Just remember to use sunscreen.
- Take Some Time to Relax
Believe it or not, your mental health can impact the physical health of your bones. When you don’t take time to relax, stress can easily build up. This stress produces a hormone called cortisol, which the National Center for Biotechnology Information cites as a factor for bone loss (3). To keep your bones at their best, be sure to take some time to relax this summer. Spend some time in the pool, take your dog to the park, or enjoy another fun summer activity to help reduce stress levels and bone-damaging cortisol production.
- Go for a Walk
While you may want to avoid going for a walk when the sun is at its brightest, it’s still important to get some movement into your day. The National Institutes of Health state that bones, like muscle, respond to exercise by becoming stronger (4). This means that daily exercise can help reverse the effects of bone loss as we age, as it makes them more resilient against breakdown. A walk is the perfect option this summer to get up and get some exercise. Aim for 30 minutes of movement a day, preferably indoors or when the sunlight is not at its brightest.
- Stay Away from the Cola
Many people enjoy a daily cola during the summer, but it’s best to avoid this sugary drink for the sake of your bones. The National Center for Biotechnology Information shows an association between cola consumption and lower bone mineral density (5). To keep hydrated and support your bone health, milk or water are better options. You can even add some fresh, seasonal fruit to your water for a flavor boost.
These tips will help keep your bones at their best all year long. Houston Physicians’ Hospital is the leading orthopedic hospital for Clear Lake, Texas, and the surrounding areas. Give us a call at (281) 557-5620.