Bone Health Tips for Athletes

Bone Health Tips for Athletes

When you love to play sports, staying in shape is up there with practicing your skills. Whether you’re just playing for fun, or you’re involved in team sports, it’s important that you watch your nutrition and your exercise routine. But your muscles aren’t the only thing that’s important to your success — your bone health is as well.

At University of Toledo Physicians, our team provides expert care, no matter what level of sport you’re involved in. The team is led by Dr. Nabil Ebraheim, an orthopedic surgeon with years of valuable experience. Dr. Ebraheim assists you in every step of your journey, from prevention strategies to specialized treatments.

Why is bone health important?

The health of your bones is vital to being able to perform everyday activities and remain physically active. Your bones not only give your body shape, but they also allow you to bear weight and get around unassisted.

However, when you’re an athlete, bone health is even more important, especially when you’re younger. You have to remember that your bones are tissues that are metabolically active. This means they’re constantly breaking down and rebuilding themselves. This allows for the older bone to be eliminated so newer, stronger bone can form. If you become injured, your bones need to continue to support the rest of your body.

During adolescence, bone health is especially vital, because you accumulate the greatest amount of bone at this point in your life. It’s also when you achieve the peak of your bone mass. This is important, as low peak bone mass can indicate a higher risk of broken bones and osteoporosis in the future.

How you can improve your bone health

As an athlete, keeping your bones healthy is important to staying in the game. Weak bones lead to fractures, which keep you sidelined for months. There are steps you can take to ensure that your bones stay healthy to keep you at the top of your game, and they include:

Calcium, calcium, calcium

Calcium is one of the vital minerals in your body, not only for your bones, but for other cells and tissues as well. As an athlete, getting the proper amount of calcium in your diet is vital to maintaining healthy bones. Make sure to include plenty of dairy products, including yogurt and milk. You can also get calcium from leafy greens and almonds.

Vitamin D is important too

In order for your body to successfully absorb the calcium you consume, you need adequate amounts of vitamin D. You’ve likely heard that vitamin D is considered the “sunshine” vitamin, because sunlight does help you increase your body’s production. However, you can also get adequate amounts of this vitamin in salmon, eggs, milk, and tuna.

Keep up with your exercise

When you’re an athlete, you’re physically very active. This is a plus when it comes to bone health, as daily activity keeps your bones strong and decreases your risk of getting osteoporosis in the future.

Avoid bad habits

Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption aren’t good for the health of your bones. Avoid using tobacco products, and limit your alcohol consumption to a minimum. Even when you’re an athlete, these habits can greatly decrease the overall health of your bones.

Exercises that promote healthy bones

Exercise is a great way to not only stay in shape, but also to keep your bones strong and intact. But some exercises are better than others when it comes to keeping up with your bones. As an athlete, exercises that help your bones include:

Weight-bearing exercise

These types of exercise are performed while on your feet — which works your bones against the pull of gravity. This puts extra stress on your bones, making them work harder and grow stronger. This not only helps with bone loss, but can prevent osteoporosis as well.

There are a lot of different types of weight-bearing exercise, including running, stair climbing, and hiking. Dancing and sports like tennis and basketball are also considered weight-bearing exercise.

Strength-training exercises

Strength-training exercises put a lot of stress on your muscles — but they also stress your bones. This not only increases your muscle mass over time, but it also helps with building stronger and healthier bones.

Strength training includes working out with free weights, your own body weight, or resistance machines at the gym. Be sure not to overdo it though — overstressing your muscles and bones isn’t a good thing.

If you’d like to learn more about keeping your bones in good health, call our office at 419-383-3761, or book a consultation online today. There’s also more information about services we provide on our YouTube channel.

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