Along with a bone-healthy diet and regular exercise, the Save Institute recommends making lifestyle changes that improve the health of your bones.
Today we bring you 12 modifications to your daily routine that will help you improve the quality of your life, your bone health, and your overall health. You’ll notice that they are simple changes. That’s important. Because it’s easier to make incremental changes than to attempt to overhaul your habits all at once. And it’s also easier to stick to smaller shifts.
Over time, the changes will add up, and before you know it, you’ll be living the life you’ve always wanted.
1. Take A Morning Walk
Studies have proven that walking offers many health benefits, including reducing the incidence of cardiovascular disease and increasing lifespan.1
Taking a walk at the start of your day has additional benefits. You’re less likely to have your daily walk interrupted by work or other obligations. You’ll also provide your body with fresh, oxygen rich-air and on a clear day, with the sunshine your body needs to produce Vitamin D.
Start the day by getting your body moving and absorbing fresh air and sunshine.
2. Wake Up With A Glass Of Water
Exercise and hydration go hand-in-hand, so it should be no surprise that a morning walk is best accompanied by a tall glass of water. But even if you haven’t yet gotten into the habit of a morning stroll, water is the best beverage to start your day.
A study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that even mild dehydration can result in moodiness, problems concentrating, headaches and fatigue.2 Any of these symptoms could derail your day and worsen your quality of life. The Save Institute recommends drinking distilled water with a few drops of fresh lemon juice. Start early and then keep sipping water over the course of the day to make sure your body stays hydrated.
Hydration is critical. Start your day with water and make sure you stay hydrated throughout the day.
3. Take Time To Think Through Your Day
This tip can help you accomplish the previous two, and all the rest to follow.
Find some quiet time each day in a place without distractions to simply take some deep breaths and think through your day. Use this space to remind yourself why you’ve chosen to use your time in the ways you’ve planned. Recentering on your goals and intentions will help you to embrace your life and stick with your healthy lifestyle changes.
Take time each morning to think through your day, your plans, and why you’ve made them.
4. Stretch Out Your Body Before You Lie Down To Sleep
The end of your day is just as important as the beginning, and stretching should be part of everyone’s bedtime ritual. Doing some gentle stretches helps to release tension and relax your body, making it easier to fall asleep. Especially if your day includes extended periods of sitting, this end-of-day practice will help you stay loose and mobile.
Stretching helps you to maintain flexibility, which helps prevent falls that can cause fractures. And it aligns the skeleton, which is important for bone health.
Stretching before bedtime improves sleep, builds flexibility, and relaxes the body.
5. Make Time To Move Around
Sitting for too long each day has been linked to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and premature mortality.3
If your job or your daily routine involves sitting for hours at a time, break up those sedentary stretches with occasional short walks. Whether that means getting up for a stroll around the office, taking a walk outside, or even just standing for a few minutes every hour, the positive effects are well worth it.
A study in the European Heart Journal found that replacing sitting time with standing or stepping benefits your cardio-metabolic health.3 So set the alarm on your phone or computer to remind you to stand up and get moving. Your body and your bones will thank you.
If your days are sedentary, make a point of getting up and moving around throughout the day.
6. Find A Fitness Friend
Sometimes the trick to following through with your exercise plan is to have a friend that will hold you accountable. So find a workout partner. Whether you’re meeting at the pool to swim laps, going to the park for a jog, or laying out your mats to do some bone-targeted weight-bearing exercises — a friend can make all the difference in how often you exercise and how enjoyable it can be.
Recent studies have found that even having a virtual workout partner helps participants to push themselves farther than they do alone. That’s called the Köhler motivation gain effect, and you can use it to get more out of your exercise regimen.4
Finding a workout buddy will help you to stick to your workout routine.
7. Forge Interpersonal Connections
Connecting with other people is important to health. Humans are wired to be social, and satisfying that evolutionary preference has mental and physical rewards.
One study found that more extensive social networks have a protective influence on cognitive function among elderly women.5 But it’s not just your brain that responds to social interaction. Studies have also found that social isolation causes stress that has a negative impact on immune function.6
There are lots of ways to increase interpersonal connections in your daily life. Here are a few suggestions:
- Introduce yourself to new people in social situations
- Sign up for a club or activity that has regular meetings
- Smile at people you pass on the sidewalk
- Make plans with friends new and old to meet for a walk or a healthy treat
- Get other people involved in your daily routine- like a workout partner or a carpool
Connecting with people every day will improve your mental health and your enjoyment of life.
8. Let Go Of Old Habits
Sometimes it can be harder to break a habit than to develop a new one, but practicing adaptability will help you tackle whatever life throws at you. Letting go of old habits can make space for the new, even if those existing habits weren’t bad for you, there might be better ones waiting to be tried.
If your old habits are not healthy practices, that’s all the more reason to let them go. Whether it’s smoking, watching television for hours on end, holding a grudge against someone, or an unhealthy dietary habit, your life will improve when you’ve filled that space with a habit better aligned with your health goals.
Letting go of old habits will help you form newer, healthier ones.
9. Try Something New
If you’re ready to try letting go of an old habit that’s holding you back, then you’re prepared for this lifestyle change: trying something new. That means regularly doing something you’ve never done before, not just picking up one new activity.
Shaking up your routine, your body, and your brain by taking on a new challenge or entering a new environment is a great way to stay mentally and physically active. This lifestyle practice can also help you to meet new people (one of the suggestions above). Whether you’re learning to play bocce ball, taking a dance lesson, or attending a lecture series- the more new things you try, the more you’ll realize that the world is full of exciting things you want to do!
Trying new experiences that will keep you adaptable and sharp.
10. Moderate Your Alcohol Consumption
There’s no need to completely cut alcohol out of your diet to build stronger bones. In fact some beer and wine contain bone-healthy polyphenols. But moderation is critical.
Finding small ways to cut back on alcohol can make a big difference in your health.
11. Don’t Multitask While You Eat
Eating should be a pleasant experience in your daily life. Especially if you’re following a healthy diet, because then you know that your food isn’t just delicious, it’s also extending your life and improving your bone health. Give the ritual of eating the time and focus it deserves.
This does more than merely increase your enjoyment of food; it enhances your ability to get the most out of each meal. Simple things such as chewing more thoroughly have been shown to increase your body’s ability to absorb nutrients from the foods you eat.7 And when you eat intentionally, it’s easier to register when you’re full and should stop eating.
Setting aside focused time for your meals will help you to eat more intentionally, and get the most nutrition out your food.
12.Prepare Home-Cooked Meals
The best, and maybe the only way, to be confident that you’re getting all the nutrients that you want and need is to cook your own meals. You’ll be amazed at how easy it is to prepare healthy dishes that are delicious and meet the 80/20 pH-balanced ratio when you’re in charge of the menu and ingredients.
Avoiding processed foods will decrease the number of artificial additives, preservatives, and other unwanted acidifying ingredients commonly added to these foods.
The healthiest meals are the ones you cook at home.
Every Great Journey Begins With A Single Step
Don’t think that you have to make these changes all at once! Try one or two changes first, and once they’re a part of your daily practice, try another modification. Eventually, you’ll have a whole new set of habits, and a whole new lease on life.
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1 Stamatakis E, Kelly P, Strain T, et al. “Self-rated walking pace and all-cause, cardiovascular disease and cancer mortality: individual participant pooled analysis of 50 225 walkers from 11 population British cohorts.” Br J Sports Med. 2018;52:761-768. Web. https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/52/12/761.citation-tools
2 Lawrence E. Armstrong, Matthew S. Ganio, Douglas J. Casa, Elaine C. Lee, Brendon P. McDermott, Jennifer F. Klau, Liliana Jimenez, Laurent Le Bellego, Emmanuel Chevillotte, Harris R. Lieberman. “Mild Dehydration Affects Mood in Healthy Young Women, The Journal of Nutrition,” Volume 142, Issue 2, 1 February 2012, Pages 382–388. Web. https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/142/2/382/4743487
3 Genevieve N. Healy, Elisabeth A. H. Winkler, Neville Owen, Satyamurthy Anuradha, David W. Dunstan. “Replacing sitting time with standing or stepping: associations with cardio-metabolic risk biomarkers.” European Heart Journal, Volume 36, Issue 39, 14 October 2015, Pages 2643–2649. Web. https://academic.oup.com/eurheartj/article/36/39/2643/2398317
4 Feltz DL. “Buddy up: the Köhler effect applied to health games.” J Sport Exerc Psychol. 2011 Aug;33(4):506-26. Web. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21808077
5 Crooks, Valerie C., et al. “Social Network, Cognitive Function, and Dementia Incidence Among Elderly Women.” AJPH. 98. 7. (2008): 1221-1227. Web. August 20, 2016. http://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/abs/10.2105/AJPH.2007.115923
6 Hui Liu. “Effects of social isolation stress on immune response and survival time of mouse with liver cancer.” World J Gastroenterol. 2005 Oct 7; 11(37): 5902–5904. Web. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4479698/
7 Cassady BA, Hollis JH, Fulford AD, Considine RV, Mattes RD. “Mastication of almonds: effects of lipid bioaccessibility, appetite, and hormone response.” Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Mar;89(3):794-800. Web: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19144727