You may not be raising dragons like Daenerys or training alongside Arya Stark, but keeping your bones battle-ready and strong is still important for a healthy lifestyle. Before the season finale of Game of Thrones airs, use these tips to learn more about your bone health and what you can do to protect it.

Stay active and exercise regularly.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends getting at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise per week – that’s just 30 minutes a day, five days a week. High impact, weight-bearing exercises, such as hiking, weight-lifting, running or jogging, dancing, jumping rope, and recreational sports build bone strength by putting stress on them and stimulating bone building cells. Lower impact exercises, like walking, help maintain bone mass, but will not have the same bone-building effect as higher impact activities. Maintaining bone mass is important, even if you’re not outrunning dragons and enemy forces!

Eat a nutrient rich diet.

Calcium, vitamin D and magnesium are the key nutrients to your bone health. Be sure you’re getting your recommended daily requirement by eating the right foods. Dairy products, such as milk, cheese and yogurt, provide the most calcium per serving size, but it can also be found in dark green vegetables, seeds, almonds, and calcium-fortified foods. Vitamin D can be found in fatty fish, such as swordfish, salmon, or mackerel, egg yolks, and fortified foods. However, it can be hard to get necessary amounts of vitamin D from food alone and some people may benefit from a supplement. Magnesium can be found in green vegetables, seeds, legumes, nuts, whole grains, and avocado.  Fortunately, pigeon pie and horse jerky are not some of the recommended food sources to get these nutrients!

Don’t smoke.

Smoking’s impact on bone health is complex, but studies show that smoking increases the risk of bone fracture and can reduce bone mass. Smoking can interfere with the absorption of calcium in the intestines, a vital nutrient for maintaining strong bones. Smoking also impacts hormone levels. Women who smoke tend to go through menopause earlier, putting them at an increased risk for osteoporosis.

Don’t drink alcohol excessively.

Drinking alcohol in excess can compromise bone health and increase the risk of bone loss and osteoporosis. Excessive alcohol consumption may affect the body’s ability to metabolize vitamin D, a key nutrient for bone health. Be sure to limit your consumption of mead and ale – and especially shade of the evening!

Know your medication side effects.

Certain medications can cause bone loss and lead to osteoporosis. Some of these medications include steroids or corticosteroids, blood thinners, diuretics, and anticonvulsants. However, these medications may be necessary to take to manage other health conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, Crohn’s disease, hyperthyroidism, high blood pressure, heart and vascular disease, and type II diabetes. Speak with your doctor about any medications you are taking to learn how it might affect your bone health.

Know your risk and make changes.

Know your risk for developing osteoporosis, fractures, and other bone conditions. Age, gender, and lifestyle are some of the main risk factors for determining bone health. Women and people over the age of 50 are at greater risk for osteopenia, osteoporosis, and fractures. Knowing your risk and developing good habits can help keep your bones strong to support you throughout your lifetime.

To learn more about bone health, conditions, and treatments, visit the Lifespan Orthopedics Institute website

Lifespan Blog Team

The Lifespan Blog Team is working to provide you with timely and pertinent information that will help keep you and your family happy and healthy.