Good habits now contribute to long-term health.
By OHM staff
Childhood is a critical time for developing strong, healthy bones. A balance between exercise, healthy diet, and adequate levels of calcium and vitamin D go a long way to build the kind of strong bones kids need later in life to help fight against osteoporosis.
Foods that are great for building strong bones include: milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, mozzarella, tofu, orange juice, and salmon. Plants high in bone-protective antioxidants such as kale, broccoli, and parsley will also help create healthy bones during childhood.
Developing dietary habits that support bone health should start at an early age. Instilling healthy lifestyle habits in young children early can help.
If you want strong bones, you must use them. Bones grow in both size and strength during childhood, and one major contributor to bone development is exercise. Children should have at least 35 to 60 minutes of exercise each day. The bone mass gained through physical activity during childhood helps determine how healthy bones will be throughout life.
Weight-bearing exercise is the best type of exercise for growing bones. Bone is living tissue, and weight-bearing activity causes bones to build more cells and become strong.
Bone constantly re-forms due to everyday stress placed upon it, and physical activities work bones and muscles against gravity.
Exercises to help strengthen kids’ bone health include:
- walking • tennis
- running • volleyball
- hiking • ice hockey/field hockey
- dancing • skiing
- soccer • skateboarding
- gymnastics • in-line skating
- basketball • lifting weights
- jump rope • aerobics
Questions? Talk to your child’s pediatrician or medical provider to discuss the physical fitness and sports activities that work best for them.
Source: The Center, thecenteroregon.com