Sticks and stones may break your bones…well, yes, actually they may. But the real danger to your bones isn’t the proverbial playground bully — it’s taking your skeleton for granted.
You probably think bone is pretty hard. And it is — but it’s not solid. It’s more like honeycomb than, say, rock, made up of a matrix of solid tissue and small holes. And it’s constantly changing: Every day our bodies break down old bone and new bone literally grows in its place. Around age 35, the building process comes to a screeching halt and we start losing bone faster than we replace it — meaning the honeycomb’s holes get bigger and the solid tissue gets weaker.
Unlike many other ailments, we can’t feel our bones getting weaker, so we may not even know our bones are deteriorating until we break one. That’s kind of like waiting for the roof to cave in before realizing a beam was going rotten. Taking steps now (literally — walking helps build bone) to offset the depletion of your body’s bone accounts will help you feel younger and live a more active, vital life.
For starters, if you smoke, quit. And if you drink alcohol, do it in moderation (one drink per day). Both of these habits weaken bones. There’s plenty else you can do — from eating right, to exercising, to reducing stress and combating depression — that will help keep your bones strong.