You spend too much time on the couch
The bone disease osteoporosis, which occurs as you lose bone mass and bone quality, affects 10 million Americans, 80 percent of whom are women, with an additional 18 million people at risk of the disease. But osteoporosis is not inevitable, as there are things you can do now to reduce your risk later on. For example, if you live a sedentary lifestyle you may be inadvertently increasing your chances of osteoporosis. “Bone is a living tissue and responds to load,” says Jonathan Lee, MD, an attending physician of orthopedics at Montefiore Health System in the Bronx, New York. “For bone, the more you use it, the more it will adapt and strengthen. Likewise, if it is not subjected to loading, it will waste away.” Studies in astronauts proved this: The weightless environment in space actually caused them to lose bone mass. The solution for us here on earth? Weight-bearing exercise. “Make sure that the exercise you choose actually loads your skeleton—while swimming has many wonderful health benefits, your bones are not loaded,” Dr. Lee says. “An activity such as walking might be better for osteoporosis prevention.” Here are 16 easy ways to work a walk into your daily routine.
You love your steak
A Paleo diet or other protein-focused eating plans like Atkins could be bad for your bones—but even if aren’t trying to, you’re probably consuming too much meat. “Almost all Americans eat much more protein than they need,” Dr. Lee says. How this affects bones reflects the delicate balance of your body’s different systems. “High-protein diets can cause the kidneys to excrete more calcium,” he says. “Since calcium is one of the primary building blocks of bone, this calcium loss can contribute to decreased bone mineral density,” which can lead to osteoporosis. Keep an eye out for these signs of a calcium deficiency.
However, some studies have shown protein causes the body to absorb more calcium, which is why there is extra to get rid of. But as with most everything when it comes to your health, it’s still best to eat meat in moderation.