For those in the Northern Hemisphere, spring is moving into summer. The warm weather and long daylight hours inspire us to get more active and enjoy the outdoors. Also, garden produce is at its peak, providing flavorful, bone-healthy nutrients in a beautiful array of colors. With all these seasonal changes, it’s the perfect time to make some bone-healthy changes of your own.
Today I’m going to show you five easy ways to take advantage of all that summer has to offer, so you can boost your bone health and have fun doing it!
#1 – Spend Time in the Sun
“Savers” are already aware that Vitamin D is crucial to bone health, and the best way to get it is by exposing your skin to the sunshine. Interestingly, there are no alkalizing food sources of Vitamin D, and supplements are only part of the picture.
Why Vitamin D is Important
When it comes to your bone health, Vitamin D is crucial. It has a dual function, acting both as a vitamin and a hormone in your body.
You have probably heard of Vitamin D3, or cholecalciferol, or maybe you’ve seen it in supplement form. When you make Vitamin D via sun exposure, the form your body makes is D3, which is the most easily absorbed form of this vitamin. Plant-based Vitamin D2 is not absorbed well, although this is the form usually prescribed by doctors who recommend large doses.
How Much Vitamin D, and How Much Sun?
The recommended daily allowance of Vitamin D3 is 400 I.U. for both men and women aged 51 to 70 years old, and 600 IU for those older than 70. This is a good place to start if you’re taking supplements. But if you want to get your Vitamin D3 from the sun, here’s an interesting finding from a recent study: 20 minutes of sun exposure while wearing a bathing suit results in 15,000 to 20,000 IUs being produced by your body.1
Despite these large numbers that are well over the US RDA, you can’t manufacture too much Vitamin D3 via sun exposure – your body has an automatic “shut-off” when you’ve produced all the Vitamin D you need. This is true even if you’re still out in the sun at the time.
Don’t be Afraid to Get Healthy, Safe Sun Exposure to Help your Bones.
To make sure you stay safe and to prevent burning and skin damage, here are some guidelines:
- 20 to 30 minutes of direct sunlight (without any sunblock) is sufficient in the summer.
- The more skin that is exposed to the sun during that time, the more benefits for your bones.
- Try to go out in the sunlight between 10am and 2pm, the time when most “experts” tell you to avoid the sun. But this is actually the optimal window to get Vitamin D. Incidentally, it’s also the time of day when your shadow is shorter than you are!
#2 – Eat Seasonal, Polyphenol-Rich Foods
In the summer, you’ll find bone-healthy fruits and vegetables fresh and in season at your local farmers’ market. Foods rich in polyphenols are especially plentiful in the summer, and nearly all of them are alkalizing. In fact, many of them are Foundation Foods in the Osteoporosis Reversal Program. Good news for your bone health!
If you’re familiar with the Osteoporosis Reversal Program, you’ll know that polyphenols are key nutrients for building bone. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, they are a type of antioxidant, and are responsible for the bright, rich colors of some fruits and vegetables. Antioxidants protect your bones from free-radical damage. In addition, polyphenols increase the production of osteoblasts, which are bone-building cells that work in conjunction with osteoclasts (which break down bone).
What Summertime Foods are Polyphenol-Rich?
Look for some of these flavorful, alkalizing, bone-building treats this summer:
- Plums (acidifying)
If you have the Osteoporosis Reversal Program, you’ll recognize these as Foundation Foods. You’ll also be familiar with the Recipe Sampler, included with the Program, which gives you creative ideas for preparing and enjoying these and many other bone-healthy foods.
#3 – Go for a Regular Walk
As I explain in the Osteoporosis Reversal Program, exercise is vital to building and maintaining bone density. Research has clearly shown that astronauts who spend time in little or no gravity lose bone mass. This means that the force of gravity on your bones, which is achieved during weight-bearing exercises like walking, helps keep them strong and healthy. The bottom line is, your body is designed for movement – it’s just not meant to be still for long periods of time.
Here’s my recommendation found in the Osteoporosis Reversal Program: “Pick your favorite form of aerobic weight-bearing exercise and practice it at least three times a week.” One of the most pleasurable forms of weight-bearing exercise this time of year is walking. And you’ll get sun exposure while you’re at it!
#4 – Relax and Have Fun
Did you know that the state of your emotions can have an effect on your bones? Chronic anxiety and stress will actually damage your bones, because your body produces an acidifying hormone called cortisol in response to stress and worry. Feeling relaxed and happy keeps cortisone levels balanced, creating the opposite effect. Happiness helps your bones!
But how can you get there? Stress is, unfortunately, a reality in today’s world. We can’t always change that fact, but we can change our response to it. In addition, there are some very real ways you can reduce the stress in your life, because some stress is self-imposed.
Learn to Let Go
Make a decision to let go of grudges, resentment, judgmental attitudes, and other negative feelings toward yourself or others. You’d be amazed at how much of our stress comes from our reactions to the words and deeds of others. We can’t control what other people say and do, but we can control our response. Go ahead and let it go. You can’t “get even” by holding on to negative feelings – all you do is harm your health and your bones.
While you’re enjoying summer’s bounty, remember to breathe deeply and slowly whenever you can. This gets lots of oxygen into your blood, which helps reduce fatigue and promote energy. Interestingly, deep breathing also helps you relax.
Fun in the Sun
I mentioned above that sunshine helps your bones – but did you know that it also helps your mood? It’s a beautiful thought that we can help our bones get stronger and lighten our mood simply by partaking of Nature’s gift of sunlight. Jump into some fun summer activities like swimming, tennis, nature walks, and cookouts. Now that it’s summer, this is not a hard “prescription” to follow!
#5 – Perform Bone-Strengthening Exercises…Outdoors!
Still looking for an excuse to get outdoors? You can take your bone-building exercises outside, especially if you’re doing the moves described in theDensercise Epidensity Training System. The exercises in Densercise are designed to promote bone density in key areas like the spine, hips, and wrists.
I created Densercise with simplicity in mind, and because of this, the exercises described can be done anywhere, without a lot of fancy equipment or expensive accoutrements.
I am always glad when I can get outside to do my bone-strengthening exercises. Sometimes I use an exercise mat if I am on a hard surface, or if the exercise involves lying on the ground. This is entirely optional, of course. The only other items you might need when you do your Densercises are simple household items, such as a towel, pillow, or even a can of soup.
Till next time,
1 Hollis BW et al. “Circulating vitamin D3 and 25-hydroxyvitamin D in humans: an important tool to define adequate nutritional vitamin D status.” J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2007 Mar;103(3-5):631-4. Epub 2007 Jan 10.
Comments on this article are closed.
Vivian you are terrific!!!! Thank you so much for all that you do. Marilia
Although I do not follow save our bones PROGRAM, I had a visit with a doctor about my bone health. I no longer have a diagnosis of osteoporosis. I still have a problem with my bones and especially with the discs in my back. I had blood work done, everything looks very good. I have been taking 50000 IU of Vitamin D. My vitamin D levels are stable at 138. So now, temporarily, I will take 30000 IU of Vitamin D, and decide when i will increase to 5000 IU again. It all depends on my next blood test. I still have a lot of hard work to do. I feel very fortunate and thankful to God for all the help in my health. Bone health can be very scary for a lot of people. Thank you for all your great information Vivian Bye for now
When I first started Vit D 3 supplements many years ago , my nutritionist advised that 50 000 IU’s should be short term …. and that REAL SUN is the best and safest … as Vivian says in todays article … .the sun will not give you more than you need >>>> Amazing how God’s body works best with HIS creation … not man made supplements.
……My neighbor has many allergies so cannot take Vit D 3 supplement ….. She did as Vivian said and sat in the sun every day for 20-30 minutes … 6 months later her D 3 was right where it should be … Amazing . ! !
Thanks Vivian por all your email. I’m allwais short of time.Love youJosie
Thanks for all your help and advices they are very important to me
You are welcome, Marciana! 🙂
I Can Eat Everything On The Polyphenol List Except Beets. I’m Allergic To Beets.
Does TrueOsteo Come Without Cilantro, Because I’m Highly Allergic To It?
Thank You VERY MUCH For EVERYTHING!
LOVE, LESLIE (MS. L. CARMEL)
I feel so discouraged about my health, but your column gives me hope. I have started an exercise program and hope to take baby steps toward saving my bones. I have been told I have osteopenia in my left hip. You give me hope, Vivian.
We all know how beneficial the sun is, but the hours 11am – 2pm are the worst time you should be spending in the sun if you live in a tropical climate like certain parts/north of Australia. Nearly everybody I know has had or has skin cancer, including myself (and I am European who spent most of her life in Europe!). Our schoolkids are not allowed outside or at sports without hats on, at any time of the day. We all wear hats and sunnies outside to protect ourselves from the harmful rays, and still get the BCCs and melanomas. Our skin care clinics are booked out for months by skin cancer sufferers.
I really appreciate your advice, Vivian, and thanks to you improved my bone health, but the ‘sun exposure advice 10am – 2pm’ does not ‘hit it’ with me. On the same note you do a great job with your research and advice. I am grateful I found your book a few years ago and changed my diet accordingly. Many thanks and warm regards!
I understand, Trudy – general suggestions do not always apply to everyone in every situation and location! 🙂 As always, your health decisions are in your hands.
I appreciate Trudy’s comment but I believe Vivian’s suggestion of 20 minutes in the sun is not too extreme . THEN you can put on the sun screen and cover yourself.
Vit D may actually HELP against Skin Cancer …
ALso sometimes I wonder … and have not researched .. But how much more skin cancer is there since usage of sunscreen is UP … Years ago, I didn’t hear about it .. but now it is everywhere … Maybe it’s what’s inside your body that helps prevent skin cancer … just as a “clean” body helps prevent other cancers . Just some things to consider … and study …
Hi thank you for the information about the bones
Thankful for the knowledge to keep the bones saved
All the best
thank you,Ita .
I am disabled ms and would like to know which exercises can be done from sitting
Mary, I am glad you asked! I actually wrote about this very thing not to long ago:
That should help you get started!
Only two weeks ago I was diagnosed with severe advanced osteoporosis, having bones of a 70 yr old woman. I’m only age 50 and am devastated. A friend recommended your website and I’ve been reading it the past 24 hrs, becoming more educated on osteoporosis and the natural way to reverse it. I knew nothing about the condition before seeing your website.
It is overwhelming at all the things I need to do and change, but the benefits are worth it. I’m taking baby steps so as not to discourage myself at the huge task at hand. Yesterday I went to the store and bought a bunch of the bone beneficial foods you recommended. My goal is to have greater bone density by June 1, 2014. I downloaded the free bone thieves info and will most likely buy the manual.
Everything you say makes sense and I’m so thankful to have been referred to you. I’m also thankful for the early diagnosis (rather than the standard screening at age 65). Like you, at age 50 I asked for a bone density test, assuming at 50 I’m supposed to get one, but was shaken to my soul at the results. I’ve been a huge fan of milk all my life (I love milk) but am stopping it, no matter how hard it will be. Lots of changes are being made.
Julie, thank you so much for sharing that. Congratulations on your decision to take charge of your bone health! Taking baby steps is an excellent way to avoid overwhelm. You also might like to read this post about osteoporosis fear:
I know how scary that diagnosis can be, but there’s no need to be afraid! 🙂
I’d think getting a UV-B lamp or bulb could help with Vitamin D. Especially in the north, and especially in the winter. Not sure how big or how long exposure.
Yes, many people have had luck using sun lamps in northern climates. 🙂
I am so grateful for all you do for us. I am thrilled as I had a DEXA scan yesterday, and even though its been 4 years and thus I “should” have more deterioration in my bones at age 66, my improvement was very significant. I am still osteopenic but the numbers show me that my hard work is paying off! Sometimes it is challenging to follow the dietary program, and thus we need this kind of encouragement! I can’t tell you how pleased I am and thankful. The technician was so impressed with my knowledge, she didn’t want me to leave. I tell everyone I can about you, the website, and the program.
With warmest regards,
Just a short note to thank you for all your news bulletins.
I always learn something new or am reminded of something I
had forgotten ! You keep me on my toes!
It’s great to have a friend like you.
Even though I do not get more involve, I want to
let you know that I appreciate all the good teaching that you do.
Keep up the good work.
I and the many many many souls are rooting for you.
Vivian, I want to thank you again. I, to have told so many people about your program. My kidney’s were at a stage 3, and I just wanted them to not get worse. My last check up with the doctor was positive and he said they were actually getting a little better. That usually does not happen. My blood pressure pills are not needed any more. I have not had my bones tested, but I feel they must be stronger too. Thank you again, and God Bless. Phyllis Mitchell, Washington.
Phyllis, that’s wonderful – isn’t it amazing how eating right and exercising helps not just your bones, but your overall health? Thank you for sharing! Keep up the good work.
Hello again Dr. Vivian…
5 best things that you can do for your bones this Summer is a great article. It is good to know that you are on our side helping us instead of
the pharmacy companies who only want to make money selling their drugs.
Keep up the good work you are doing… Thanks… GOD BLESS
What is your input don algaecal calcium?
I just want to say you have improved the quality of my life and enhanced my overall knowledge of health related issues that affect bone health. I sing your praises everyday far and wide, All I can do is thank God for you Vivian.
Thank you Vivian for all the information as usual, I always enjoy reading your informative emails. I swim every other day at a leisure center and point my toes after each breast stroke as I believe this helps with my bone health. Is this right? I would be very interested to know. I would love to swim outside, but living in England is rather cold.
Swimming is great exercise! Pointing your toes is a great idea – there are exercises in Densercise that involve this move. 🙂
Vivian thank you so much for all your wonderful advice,
I needed to hear all that, God Bless YOu
What kind and positive comments this morning! Thank you all for chiming in and for expressing your appreciation. I appreciate each and every one of you, too, and I hope you all have a sun-filled day and weekend! 🙂
I was looking at my skin moisturizer which has sunscreen in it. There are so many words I don’t even know how to pronounce say anything about know what they mean. Back to nature and common sense. I stopped using it about a week ago(looking into aloe vera) and am enjoying the sun on my face once again. I am careful about not getting to much sun but walking with my face to the sky is so relaxing. Thank you for the encouragement!! Best wishes!!
I can’t believe in those days someone like you exists giving so much knowledge and information for us for free, thank you and God bless you
I should like to say how much your e-mails have meant to me.
Sensible and simple advice!
Thanks ever so much for sharing these tips. God bless you.
So simple, so effective. I can’t believe that we’re being taught to fear the sun when it’s obviously so good for us.
I know, Pat – I can’t help but wonder how many benefits people miss when they follow conventional advice to stay out of the sun!
Thank you so much for your very useful information. I learn a lot from them. I also bought your Osteoporosis Reversal Program quite awhile ago. I have some questions about almond drink, is there any that have no calcium carbonate in it or any brand name you recommend? Also is drinking coconut milk ( by SILK) is good?