It’s not uncommon for women to battle osteoporosis, or brittle bones, as they age. In fact, as many as one in three of us will experience a break caused by weak and porous bones.
Men, you’re not entirely off the hook either. But your risk is far lower since your bones are thicker to begin with.
For the ladies, dropping estrogen levels after menopause, low vitamin D, diet and smoking can all contribute to osteoporosis. But recent research has revealed a startling new risk that’s left everyone stunned.
According to the new study, anxiety may make your bones weaker.
Researchers found that women who suffer from chronic anxiety are 1.79 times more likely to develop osteoporosis than their calmer counterparts are. Which means it’s more important than ever to take steps to reduce stress and bring our anxiety levels down. Before it’s too late.
Reduce anxiety for stronger bones
You can start with the basics. A relaxing cup of tea, a hot bath, or listening to good music can all help you feel calmer and more in control. But when it comes to long-term results, you might find managing your anxiety takes more than just a distraction.
Following are three proven ways to reduce stress and anxiety over the long-term. Any one, or combination of them, could help you feel better today and avoid osteoporosis in the future.
Before you write meditation off as too “out there,” keep reading. Meditation is far easier to do than you might imagine. It doesn’t require any special equipment or even belief systems.
A quiet spot and a chair or pillow is all that’s required. And best of all it leads to real, measurable results.
According to Harvard University, several studies—including a meta-analysis of over 45 trials—have shown that meditation can ease anxiety, stress and mental distress. Across the board, study participants who meditated were able to deal with difficult situations much more effectively than folks who didn’t meditate.
There are plenty of free videos on YouTube and apps for your smartphone that can help you get started. It only takes a few minutes a day. But the payoff could last a lifetime with sturdier, stronger bones.
Have you ever noticed you feel less stressed and anxious after you get some exercise? It’s one of the many benefits of fitting some extra movement into your day.
When you exercise, your body releases “feel-good” hormones called endorphins. These natural painkillers have the same effect as some anti-anxiety meds. They can help calm your mind and relieve feelings of stress and anxiety.
Experts say just five minutes of aerobic exercise such as swift walking, swimming or dancing is enough to stimulate the anti-anxiety effects of exercise. Study after study has shown that regular exercise allows people to handle stressful situations better, without becoming as anxious. And that could translate to stronger bones and a lower risk of a broken hip or other breaks.
Yoga is an excellent way to reap the anxiety reducing benefits of both exercise and meditation. And if you’ve been avoiding giving it a try because you’re older, less flexible than you used to be or even simply just on the chubby side I have good news. You don’t need to.
There are yoga workouts designed for everyone regardless of age, fitness or size. You just have to do a little research to find the one that’s right for you. Online videos are a great place to start. For example, a quick YouTube search turns up dozens of free videos on chair yoga for seniors, yoga for folks with flexibility issues and even yoga for people who are overweight.
And if you prefer a real world experience check your local YMCA or gym for yoga classes for beginners.
Research has found that people who practice yoga on a regular basis respond to stressful situations with more feelings of control. And fewer feelings of anxiety in both the short and long-term. Which could lead to stronger bones too.
Build stronger bones starting today
Of course slashing anxiety isn’t the only thing you can do to fight off brittle bones and reduce your risk of breaks. You can take other direct steps to build stronger bones too.
Following are three simple changes you can make that can give your bones the boost they need to stay strong and healthy.
- Eat more leafy greens: Dark leafy greens such as spinach and kale are loaded with the nutrients your bones love including calcium, magnesium, vitamin K and potassium.
- Spend more time in the sun: To process the bone-building calcium you’re getting in your diet your body requires vitamin D. Aim for spending 15 to 20 minutes in the sun every day. And if you can’t, consider a vitamin D3 supplement too
- Exercise more often: Exercise does double duty when it comes to your bones. It not only reduces anxiety, it helps strengthens your bones directly. For best results, focus on weight bearing exercises such as walking, step aerobics or using resistance bands.
Chronic anxiety doesn’t just hurt emotionally. It can cause physical harm, too. Follow these tips to protect both your bones and your wellbeing starting today.
She is an advocate of self-education and is passionate about the power of group knowledge sharing, like the kind found right here on HealthierTalk.com. Alice loves to share her views on holistic and natural healing as well as her, sometimes contentious, thoughts on the profit-driven inner workings of traditional medicine.
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