In the news
Recent surveys suggest that American kids are getting more exercise than they did a decade or so ago but adults are not. The common excuse: “I don’t have time to work out.” How do we solve that problem? The answer: stealth exercise.
There are plenty of opportunities to burn a few extra calories several times a day and to maintain muscle tone and they don’t require much time. Here are a few examples.
At work or when you shop, park at the farthest spot, not the closest. (You’ll probably find more empty spaces there and your doors are less likely to get dinged.)
Don’t drop the kids off or pick them up at the front door of the school, but about ¼ mile away. You’ll all get some exercise, you won’t get zero miles to the gallon while in the line of cars and you’ll probably save time.
Use a push mower for the lawn; no gas to worry about. Rake up your leaves and grass debris instead of using that noisy vacuum.
Elevators are for wimps! Use the stairs if you’re only going up a flight or two; get in the habit of walking down several flights.
At work, use the restroom that is the farthest, not the one closest to your office. Take a ten-minute walk before lunch. It will perk up your appetite.
Stand up when you use the phone. It burns only a few more calories than sitting but research shows that it gives your voice more authority.
These are just a few examples and you are probably already thinking of more. You might burn only about a hundred calories every couple of days but it adds up to about FIVE pounds a year. Priceless!
What’s in an osteoporosis cocktail?
The major component of bone is calcium but it’s only one of many nutrients that we require for a strong skeleton early in life and to prevent osteoporosis in our later years. If there is a deficiency of even one of those nutrients the complex processes that build and maintain bone will suffer. When this occurs in middle age and later it can lead to the thinning of bone that we know as osteoporosis.
One of the most common questions that I hear from persons in my audience – almost always a petite elderly woman – is “I take calcium. Why do I still have osteoporosis?” Calcium by itself will have no effect on bone loss or fractures. Several other nutrients are critical for bone health.
The Osteoporosis Cocktail is my term for the group of nutrients that bones require to maintain their strength – in addition, of course, to resistance exercise. Vitamins A, C, K and D, magnesium, protein and omega-3 fats are equally important. A deficiency of any one of these results in deficient bone. This is a perfect example of why a varied diet is essential, for they come from different sources.
Plant foods can provide most of them but Americans’ dismally low intake of fruits and vegetables fails to provide enough vitamins, protein and omega-3 fats. Whole grains are a good source of magnesium; refined flour is not. Omega-3 fats come from fish; flaxseed is good but it is an insufficient source. Animal meat provides the protein that plant foods used to provide; fish and chicken are better sources than beef or pork because they have little saturated fat.