Milk was meant to be the cure-all for frail bones. The thought was that if people drank more calcium through milk they would provide their bones with the nutrients to grow and stay strong (plus it would keep dairy farmers in business).
As it turns out, milk is a fairly poor solution for weak bones. When it comes to bone loss, women are at higher risk than men. Those at high risk for weak bones include smokers, heavy drinkers, sedentary people, and anyone who doesn’t consume enough calcium or vitamin D.
A change in hormones in middle age causes both men and women to slow down the production of new bone, but this process truly begins around age 30. After that, it gets harder and harder to increase your bone mass.
Bones are the support beams of your body. They provide a foundation for muscles to pull and push. They’re also giant reservoirs of calcium, an electrolyte that your muscles need to work properly. Your body is constantly breaking down bones to supply calcium to the muscles, which is why it’s important to consume enough.
Just like muscles, bones are constantly replenishing themselves. However, they won’t grow unless they’re forced to. Similar to muscles, they need a form of stress to convince them to grow. There are two sources of stress from exercise: the pull from your muscles and the impact from landing.
Running, jumping, and even crawling send impact forces through your bones. Those impact forces stimulate bone growth so that your skeleton can protect itself against future stressors. However, you don’t need impact forces to grow bones. Lifting weights is sometimes more effective.
When your muscles contract, they pull on the bones they’re attached to. The harder they contract, the more they pull on bones. This pulling force stimulates bones to grow stronger, and you don’t even need the jarring impact from an activity like running.
A healthy balance of jumping, running and weight training is preferred for strengthening and maintaining bone mass. The same thing is true for bones and muscles: they won’t get stronger unless you force them to!
Coach Henry Halse