Beginner's Guide to Exercise

Proceed with caution. Anyone beginning an exercise regimen should begin slowly. Allow yourself to get used to the strain of physical activity. As your body adjusts, you'll be able to increase the duration and intensity of your program. If you feel any discomfort, stop exercising and consult your doctor.Exercise beginnersDress comfortably in loose-fitting clothing. Wear the appropriate footwear. Consider the weather. If the temperature and humidity are extreme, either too high or too low, physical exertion may be dangerous.

Begin with a "warm-up" session. Stretch muscles slowly to avoid injury during the actual exercise. Get your respiration, circulation, and body temperature to increase by beginning with some low-impact exercises. Your warm-up should last about three to five minutes.

Begin the actual exercise phase at a moderate intensity. The duration will build cardiovascular fitness. Don't overexert yourself. If you exercise regularly, you'll be able to lengthen the time and increase the intensity. While you're exercising, you should feel your heart beating faster. You should be breathing more rapidly and deeply, yet still be able to carry on a conversation. You should begin to sweat. These are ways that your system responds to the challenges of exercise.

End with a "cool down" session. Spend a few minutes walking slowly to let your body gradually decrease itself. Just as you needed to gradually begin to exercise, you need to gradually begin to rest.
Plan for your next exercise session. Commit to it. In order for exercise to be truly effective, it must become a regular part of your routine. Cardiovascular fitness needs to be maintained.

Kinds of Physical Exercise

A successful exercise program involves frequent physical activity that is rhythmic, repetitive, challenges the circulatory system, and uses large muscles. The exercise program must significantly increase the blood flow to the muscles for an extended period of time, promoting cardiovascular fitness. Such exercises are called isotonic, dynamic, or aerobic. If you want to have a healthy heart, you need to perform aerobic exercise.

Aerobic activities really "get the blood pumping." As the heart beats faster, the blood circulates more quickly, delivering extra oxygen to the muscles. This builds strength, or cardiovascular fitness. Some recommended aerobic activities are walking, hiking, jogging, bicycling, swimming, jumping rope, and roller skating. Some forms of exercise, like weightlifting, can build muscle strength without building cardiovascular fitness.

Physical Exercise

The hardest part of an exercise routine is getting started. Once you've established a regular pattern of exercise, you'll find yourself following it. So, how do you get started? Well, first of all, consult your doctor. Your doctor can recommend the specific kinds of exercise for your own individual needs. Generally, however, these guidelines should get you going.

First of all, exercise will only become a habit if it's fun! Pick something you will enjoy doing. If you like being with a group of people, try a team sport like basketball or soccer. You don't have to be a super athlete. Anyone can exercise. Social activities like dancing and mall-walking are also good. If you're more of a loner, try bicycling or swimming.

Don't kid yourself. Be honest about what you realistically think you can do. If you have always hated to climb stairs, step aerobics probably isn't for you. Maybe a walk around the neighborhood would be more pleasant. Many people today are walking toward fitness.

Consider your current state of physical fitness. If you haven't exercised in years, you'll definitely want to start with some modest activities. As you get adjusted, you can increase your activity.
Consider your schedule. Are you a morning person? Then plan to exercise in the morning. If you're addicted to your snooze button, plan to exercise in the evening. Start with just a small block of time, maybe fifteen minutes. As you get into your routine, you probably won't mind increasing to twenty, and then thirty, minutes. In order to be effective, you'll need to repeat your exercise routine 3 or 4 times per week.

Will you exercise at home or at a fitness center? Selecting a fitness center can be a challenge, but you may find the community support motivational. Will you need any special equipment? The variety of exercise equipment available for purchase today can be overwhelming. Be sure to buy the proper equipment.

Finally, take it easy. Make sure that you exercise intelligently and cautiously. Follow some guidelines for beginners. Exercise should improve your health, not risk it.
If you're still making excuses, at least try some of the Healthy Heart Tips for today. These simple, realistic activities can become the first step toward a healthier tomorrow.

Top 30 Health Tips

 A garlic a day: Garlic is the mother of all cures. Researchers in Liverpool have found that 5ml of garlic extract lower levels of a disease-causing chemical by up to 48 per cent.

 Eat wholegrain foods: Make sure you have whole-grain bread, rice or pasta at least four times a week and you will reduce the chance of having cancer by 40 per cent.

 Take care of your skin: Always wear sun-screen lotion during summers. It is advisable to use winter care creams to overcome the harsh and cold winds. The best cure is to smile through and your skin will shine with an extra dash. It's no big secret!

 Eat plenty of fish: Fish is the recommended diet for a longer healthier life. Studies have found that those who regularly ate fish were up to one-third less likely to get heart diesease than those who ate it less than once a month.

 Try Tea: Tea is always good. Being a heavy tea-drinker can never have nagative effects. The protective effects of tea increase with the amount drunk, and people who are regular tea drinkers are the least likely to die of a heart attack.

 Stop smoking: Do not smoke your health away. Nicotine pathces, gums or inhalers might work for some individuals, or other methods, from hypnosis to acupuncture. More you are to smoke, more likely your are to develop cancer or heart disease.

 Walk for Health: There is nothing better than walking. Walking a mile everyday, or taking reasonable exercise three times a week, promises to reduce the risk of heart disease, as well as strengthens bones and keeps them strong.

 Never sleep over a backache: It is never advisable to sleep over a backache. Research shows that people who take to their beds with backache take the longest time to recover. Those who avoid bed-rest and continue normal activities as much as possible have less pain.

 Water spells health: Water flushes out the toxins. A good amount of liquid intake helps the entire system and of course is best for curing skin ailments. The average man needs 2.9 litres, or about 12 cups of water, a day and woman needs about 2.2 litres.

 Stop bad breath: You can prevent that unfriendly odour. It is caused by oral bacteria. A toungue scraper may help, but dental care may be needed. Mouth rinses are effective, as are flossing and brushing teeth twice a day.

 Slow down on the junk: Research shows that eating too many high-fat-food contributes to high blood-cholestrol levels, which can cause hardening of the arteries, coronory heart disease and stroke.

 Cut back on salt: Health Organisation recommend no more than five grams a day. Too much salt can lead to stroke and heart problems.

 Drink wine: Research suggests that the equivalent of a couple of glasses of wine a day may be good for health. It can also help you keep a good mental frame.

 Spouse can matter: A man in poor health in his 50s is six times more likely to be affected if married to a woman who is also in poor health.

 Eat right for better teeth: Your pearly whites can gleam. Eat apples, oranges, celery, carrots and high fiber green.

 Make love: There is no better medicine than to have sex. people who have sex at least twice a week get protective boost from their immune systems. Of course it relaxes the mind.

 Crash diets don't work: The so called new-age diets do not add to health prospects. There is no easy way to lose weight so the best way is to do it over a period of time.

 Coffee is good: Researchers have found that two to four cups of coffee daily can lower the risk of colon cancer by 25 per cent.

 Being overweight is dangerous: Loose the extra kilos. Over weight people cut 20 weeks of their life for every excess kilogram, according to new research.Keeping a personal weight machine at home really helps.
 Supplement with selenium: Research has shown that people who took a daily supplement of selenium had a 37 per cent reduction in cancers.

 Lower you cholesterol: Work on reducing your cholestrol. This can reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke even when your level is not high. Exercise to reduce weight.

 Asprin is a wonder drug: Asprin can actually do wonders. It helps to reduce the risk of conditions such as heart disease and cancers, including of the colon, oesophagus, stomach, rectum, prostrate. cent.

 Change your job: If the workplace is what bothers you. Simply quit! Consider becoming a salesperson. Salespeople are least likely to have a work-related illness.

 Socialising is good: Meeting friends and relatives is recommended. Weekly socialising improves the memory, concentration and problem solving skills.

 Learn to relax: Unwind, take up a hobby and start socialising. This fights stress and depression.

 Fruits and vegetables help: Have at least five portions of vegetables and fruit a day, especially tomatoes, red grapes.

 Sing to stay healthy: Singing is good for the mind and body. it is relaxing, improves breathing and muscle tone.

 Vitamins are vital: A multivit a day keeps the tablet away, but be sure it contains at least 200 meg of folic acid.

 Sleep well: There is nothing like a good sleep. Sleep primes the immune system. Most people need between seven and nine hours of sleep a night.

 Or just hum...: Humming helps. Daily humming is a good way to increase ventilation in the sinuses

    Health Tips and Technics - Fitness and Exercist Tips

    Health and Fitness is now one of the major concern areas across the world. Easy lifestyle is what we are moving towards. Very less of effort spent on most activities like, travel by motor vehicles, air-conditioned environment, ready-made food stuff, etc.
    Earlier humans used to hunt for their living, due to which their body had to undergo a lot of physical exercise. Every part of the body was exercised and the intake was more of natural substances.
    Today, we hardly do any of those. Even a simple 30 mins per day of workouts and one good nutritious meal a day can help improve our health. This easy life has restricted humans to do that bit of physical exercise which is required to keep the body fit and healthy.
    How do we ensure that we have all that is required for a healthy living? This is a big question among everyone. We need a fit and healthy body. Good Health is all that one craves for. Becoming healthier and fitter though not very difficult needs dedicated efforts.
    Nutrition and Health Diet
    The basic foundation for a healthy individual starts from his foetal stage with proper and healthy nutrition derived from his or her mother. Hence, a pregnant woman's diet stands atop all diets.
    Your food shall be your medicine. Ayurveda has postulated the role of food and especially nutritive foods for maintaining health as well as cure of diseases. Nutrients are necessary for the proper functioning of mental, physical, metabolic, chemical and hormonal activities. The body is like a machine that will repair and rebuild itself if proper nutrition is provided by way of food.
    Sumptous nutrition is available in fruits and vegetables. Fruits have the capacity to give all that a body needs. How to consume? What to consume? Which fruit helps in which way? The answers to these questions can be found in our Nutrition and Healthy Diet Section
    Exercise and Fitness
    Simple fitness exercises can help to have a fitter and healthy life. Stretching exercises can help in many ways in mainting a fitter body. Weight loss can be achieved by following simple effortless regular exercises. Medical breakthroughs can happen by regular meditation and exercising. Yoga and other workouts which can be performed easily are available in this website to keep you fit and healthy.
    Health and Fitness can make all that difference in one's life. Healthy living is all that one needs, and to achieve that we picked up the best of the articles from reliable sources and have presented here in an organized manner. You might not be able to spend your valuable time on complicated medications and diet controls, but, you can find articles to help you have a better living using simple and easy technics.
    Ayurveda, a science in vogue practiced since centuries, uses a wide variety of plants, animal origin substances, mineral and metallic substances to rebalance the diseased condition in the sick. A few tips on simple treatment of life style diseases have been carefully picked for the visitors of this website. These tips can help reduce or control diseases like diabetes, cholesterol, blood pressure, etc.

    45 best health tips ever

    We've done the legwork for you and here they are: the 45 best health tips. Make that 46 - taking the time to read this tops the list.

    1. Copy your kitty: Learn to do stretching exercises when you wake up. It boosts circulation and digestion, and eases back pain.
    2. Don’t skip breakfast. Studies show that eating a proper breakfast is one of the most positive things you can do if you are trying to lose weight. Breakfast skippers tend to gain weight. A balanced breakfast includes fresh fruit or fruit juice, a high-fibre breakfast cereal, low-fat milk or yoghurt, wholewheat toast, and a boiled egg.
    3. Brush up on hygiene. Many people don't know how to brush their teeth properly. Improper brushing can cause as much damage to the teeth and gums as not brushing at all. Lots of people don’t brush for long enough, don’t floss and don’t see a dentist regularly. Hold your toothbrush in the same way that would hold a pencil, and brush for at least two minutes. This includes brushing the teeth, the junction of the teeth and gums, the tongue and the roof of the mouth. And you don't need a fancy, angled toothbrush – just a sturdy, soft-bristled one that you replace each month.
    4. Neurobics for your mind. Get your brain fizzing with energy. American researchers coined the term ‘neurobics’ for tasks which activate the brain's own biochemical pathways and to bring new pathways online that can help to strengthen or preserve brain circuits. Brush your teeth with your ‘other’ hand, take a new route to work or choose your clothes based on sense of touch rather than sight. People with mental agility tend to have lower rates of Alzheimer's disease and age-related mental decline.
    5. Get what you give! Always giving and never taking? This is the short road to compassion fatigue. Give to yourself and receive from others, otherwise you’ll get to a point where you have nothing left to give. And hey, if you can’t receive from others, how can you expect them to receive from you?
    6. Get spiritual. A study conducted by the formidably sober and scientific Harvard University found that patients who were prayed for recovered quicker than those who weren’t, even if they weren’t aware of the prayer.
    7. Get smelly. Garlic, onions, spring onions and leeks all contain stuff that’s good for you. A study at the Child’s Health Institute in Cape Town found that eating raw garlic helped fight serious childhood infections. Heat destroys these properties, so eat yours raw, wash it down with fruit juice or, if you’re a sissy, have it in tablet form.
    8. Knock one back. A glass of red wine a day is good for you. A number of studies have found this, but a recent one found that the polyphenols (a type of antioxidant) in green tea, red wine and olives may also help protect you against breast cancer. It’s thought that the antioxidants help protect you from environmental carcinogens such as passive tobacco smoke.
    9. Bone up daily. Get your daily calcium by popping a tab, chugging milk or eating yoghurt. It’ll keep your bones strong. Remember that your bone density declines after the age of 30. You need at least 200 milligrams daily, which you should combine with magnesium, or it simply won’t be absorbed.
    10. Berries for your belly. Blueberries, strawberries and raspberries contain plant nutrients known as anthocyanidins, which are powerful antioxidants. Blueberries rival grapes in concentrations of resveratrol – the antioxidant compound found in red wine that has assumed near mythological proportions. Resveratrol is believed to help protect against heart disease and cancer.
    11. Curry favour. Hot, spicy foods containing chillies or cayenne pepper trigger endorphins, the feel-good hormones. Endorphins have a powerful, almost narcotic, effect and make you feel good after exercising. But go easy on the lamb, pork and mutton and the high-fat, creamy dishes served in many Indian restaurants.
    12. Cut out herbs before ops. Some herbal supplements – from the popular St John's Wort and ginkgo biloba to garlic, ginger, ginseng and feverfew – can cause increased bleeding during surgery, warn surgeons. It may be wise to stop taking all medication, including herbal supplements, at least two weeks before surgery, and inform your surgeon about your herbal use.
    13. I say tomato. Tomato is a superstar in the fruit and veggie pantheon. Tomatoes contain lycopene, a powerful cancer fighter. They’re also rich in vitamin C. The good news is that cooked tomatoes are also nutritious, so use them in pasta, soups and casseroles, as well as in salads. The British Thoracic Society says that tomatoes and apples can reduce your risk of asthma and chronic lung diseases. Both contain the antioxidant quercetin. To enjoy the benefits, eat five apples a week or a tomato every other day.
    14. Eat your stress away. Prevent low blood sugar as it stresses you out. Eat regular and small healthy meals and keep fruit and veggies handy. Herbal teas will also soothe your frazzled nerves. Eating unrefined carbohydrates, nuts and bananas boosts the formation of serotonin, another feel-good drug. Small amounts of protein containing the amino acid tryptamine can give you a boost when stress tires you out.
    15. Load up on vitamin C.We need at least 90 mg of vitamin C per day and the best way to get this is by eating at least five servings of fresh fruit and vegetables every day. So hit the oranges and guavas!
    16. No folly in folic acid. Folic acid should be taken regularly by all pregnant mums and people with a low immunity to disease. Folic acid prevents spina bifida in unborn babies and can play a role in cancer prevention. It is found in green leafy vegetables, liver, fruit and bran.
    17. A for Away. This vitamin, and beta carotene, help to boost immunity against disease. It also assists in the healing process of diseases such as measles and is recommended by the WHO. Good natural sources of vitamin A are kidneys, liver, dairy products, green and yellow vegetables, pawpaw, mangoes, chilli pepper, red sorrel and red palm oil.
    18. Pure water. Don’t have soft drinks or energy drinks while you're exercising. Stay properly hydrated by drinking enough water during your workout (just don't overdo things, as drinking too much water can also be dangerous). While you might need energy drinks for long-distance running, in shorter exercise sessions in the gym, your body will burn the glucose from the soft drink first, before starting to burn body fat. Same goes for eating sweets.
    19. GI, Jane. Carbohydrates with a high glycaemic index, such as bread, sugar, honey and grain-based food will give instant energy and accelerate your metabolism. If you’re trying to burn fat, stick to beans, rice, pasta, lentils, peas, soya beans and oat bran, all of which have a low GI count.
    20. Mindful living. You've probably heard the old adage that life's too short to stuff a mushroom. But perhaps you should consider the opposite: that life's simply too short NOT to focus on the simple tasks. By slowing down and concentrating on basic things, you'll clear your mind of everything that worries you. Really concentrate on sensations and experiences again: observe the rough texture of a strawberry's skin as you touch it, and taste the sweet-sour juice as you bite into the fruit; when your partner strokes your hand, pay careful attention to the sensation on your skin; and learn to really focus on simple tasks while doing them, whether it's flowering plants or ironing your clothes.
    21. The secret of stretching. When you stretch, ease your body into position until you feel the stretch and hold it for about 25 seconds. Breathe deeply to help your body move oxygen-rich blood to those sore muscles. Don't bounce or force yourself into an uncomfortable position.
    22. Do your weights workout first. Experts say weight training should be done first, because it's a higher intensity exercise compared to cardio. Your body is better able to handle weight training early in the workout because you're fresh and you have the energy you need to work it. Conversely, cardiovascular exercise should be the last thing you do at the gym, because it helps your body recover by increasing blood flow to the muscles, and flushing out lactic acid, which builds up in the muscles while you're weight training. It’s the lactic acid that makes your muscles feel stiff and sore.
    23. Burn fat during intervals. To improve your fitness quickly and lose weight, harness the joys of interval training. Set the treadmill or step machine on the interval programme, where your speed and workload varies from minute to minute. Build up gradually, every minute and return to the starting speed. Repeat this routine. Not only will it be less monotonous, but you can train for a shorter time and achieve greater results.
    24. Your dirtiest foot forward. If your ankles, knees, and hips ache from running on pavement, head for the dirt. Soft trails or graded roads are a lot easier on your joints than the hard stuff. Also, dirt surfaces tend to be uneven, forcing you to slow down a bit and focus on where to put your feet – great for agility and concentration.
    25. Burn the boredom, blast the lard. Rev up your metabolism by alternating your speed and intensity during aerobic workouts. Not only should you alternate your routine to prevent burnout or boredom, but to give your body a jolt. If you normally walk at 6.5km/h on the treadmill or take 15 minutes to walk a km, up the pace by going at 8km/h for a minute or so during your workout. Do this every five minutes or so. Each time you work out, increase your bouts of speed in small increments.
    26. Cool off without a beer. Don’t eat carbohydrates for at least an hour after exercise. This will force your body to break down body fat, rather than using the food you ingest. Stick to fruit and fluids during that hour, but avoid beer.
    27. ‘Okay, now do 100 of those’. Instead of flailing away at gym, enlist the help – even temporarily – of a personal trainer. Make sure you learn to breathe properly and to do the exercises the right way. You’ll get more of a workout while spending less time at the gym.
    28. Stop fuming. Don’t smoke and if you smoke already, do everything in your power to quit. Don’t buy into that my-granny-smoked-and-lived-to-be-90 crud – not even the tobacco giants believe it. Apart from the well-known risks of heart disease and cancer, orthopaedic surgeons have found that smoking accelerates bone density loss and constricts blood flow. So you could live to be a 90-year-old amputee who smells of stale tobacco smoke. Unsexy.
    29. Ask about Mad Aunt Edith. Find out your family history. You need to know if there are any inherited diseases prowling your gene pool. According to the Mayo Clinic, USA, finding out what your grandparents died of can provide useful – even lifesaving – information about what’s in store for you. And be candid, not coy: 25 percent of the children of alcoholics become alcoholics themselves.
    30. Do self-checks. Do regular self-examinations of your breasts. Most partners are more than happy to help, not just because breast cancer is the most common cancer among SA women. The best time to examine your breasts is in the week after your period.
    31. My smear campaign. Have a pap smear once a year. Not on our list of favourite things, but it’s vital. Cervical cancer kills 200 000 women a year and it’s the most prevalent form of cancer among black women, affecting more than 30 percent. But the chances of survival are nearly 100 percent if it’s detected early. Be particularly careful if you became sexually active at an early age, have had multiple sex partners or smoke.
    32. Understand hormones. Recent research suggests that short-term (less than five years) use of HRT is not associated with an increase in the risk of breast cancer, but that using it for more than ten years might be. Breast cancer is detected earlier in women using HRT, as they are more alert to the disease than other women.
    32. Beat the sneezes. There are more than 240 allergens, some rare and others very common. If you’re a sneezer due to pollen: close your car’s windows while driving, rather switch on the internal fan (drawing in air from the outside), and avoid being outdoors between 5am and 10 am when pollen counts are at their highest; stick to holidays in areas with low pollen counts, such as the seaside and stay away from freshly cut grass.
    33. Doggone. If you’re allergic to your cat, dog, budgie or pet piglet, stop suffering the ravages of animal dander: Install an air filter in your home. Keep your pet outside as much as possible and brush him outside of the home to remove loose hair and other allergens. Better yet, ask someone else to do so.
    34. Asthma-friendly sports. Swimming is the most asthma-friendly sport of all, but cycling, canoeing, fishing, sailing and walking are also good, according to the experts. Asthma need not hinder peak performance in sport. 11 percent of the US Olympic team were asthmatics – and between them they won 41 medals.
    35. Deep heat. Sun rays can burn even through thick glass, and under water. Up to 35 percent of UVB rays and 85 percent of UVA rays penetrate thick glass, while 50 percent of UVB rays and 77 percent of UVA rays penetrate a meter of water and wet cotton clothing. Which means you’ll need sunscreen while driving your car on holiday, and water resistant block if you’re swimming.
    36. Fragrant ageing. Stay away from perfumed or flavoured suntan lotions which smell of coconut oil or orange if you want your skin to stay young. These lotions contain psoralen, which speeds up the ageing process. Rather use a fake-tan lotion. Avoid sun beds, which are as bad as the sun itself.
    37. Sunscreen can be a smokescreen. Sunscreen is unlikely to stop you from being sunburned, or to reduce your risk of developing skin cancer. That’s because most people don’t apply it properly, and stay in the sun too long. The solution? Slather on sunscreen daily and reapply it often, especially if you’ve been in the water. How much? At least enough to fill a shot glass.
    38. Laugh and cry. Having a good sob is reputed to be good for you. So is laughter, which has been shown to help heal bodies, as well as broken hearts. Studies in Japan indicate that laughter boosts the immune system and helps the body shake off allergic reactions.
    39. It ain’t over till it’s over. End relationships that no longer work for you, as you could be spending time in a dead end. Rather head for more meaningful things. You could be missing opportunities while you’re stuck in a meaningless rut, trying to breathe life into something that is long gone.
    40. Strong people go for help. Ask for assistance. Gnashing your teeth in the dark will not get you extra brownie points. It is a sign of strength to ask for assistance and people will respect you for it. If there is a relationship problem, the one who refuses to go for help is usually the one with whom the problem lies to begin with.
    41. Save steamy scenes for the bedroom. Showering or bathing in water that’s too hot will dry out your skin and cause it to age prematurely. Warm water is much better. Apply moisturiser while your skin is still damp – it’ll be absorbed more easily. Adding a little olive oil to your bath with help keep your skin moisturised too.
    42. Here’s the rub. Improve your circulation and help your lymph glands to drain by the way you towel off. Helping your lymph glands function can help prevent them becoming infected. When drying off your limbs and torso, brush towards the groin on your legs and towards the armpits on your upper body. You can do the same during gentle massage with your partner.
    43. Sugar-coated. More than three million South Africans suffer from type 2 diabetes, and the incidence is increasing – with new patients getting younger. New studies show this type of diabetes is often part of a metabolic syndrome (X Syndrome), which includes high blood pressure and other risk factors for heart disease. More than 80 percent of type 2 diabetics die of heart disease, so make sure you control your glucose levels, and watch your blood pressure and cholesterol counts.
    44. Relax, it’s only sex. Stress and sex make bad bedfellows, it seems. A US survey showed that stress, kids and work are main factors to dampen libido. With the advent of technology that allows us to work from home, the lines between our jobs and our personal lives have become blurred. People work longer hours, commutes are longer and work pervades all aspects of our lives, including our sexual relationships. Put nooky and intimacy on the agenda, just like everything else.
    45. Good night, sweetheart. Rest heals the body and has been shown to lessen the risk of heart trouble and psychological problems.

    Tips to keep your bones healthy

    Protecting your bone health is easier than you think. Understand how diet, physical activity and other lifestyle factors can affect your bone mass.

    By Mayo Clinic staff Bones play many roles in the body — providing structure, protecting organs, anchoring muscles and storing calcium. While it's particularly important to take steps to build strong and healthy bones during childhood and adolescence, you can take steps during adulthood to protect bone health, too.

    Why is bone health important?

    Your bones are continuously changing — new bone is made and old bone is broken down. When you're young, your body makes new bone faster than it breaks down old bone, and your bone mass increases. Most people reach their peak bone mass around age 30. After that, bone remodeling continues, but you lose slightly more bone mass than you gain.
    How likely you are to develop osteoporosis — a condition that causes bones to become weak and brittle — depends on how much bone mass you attain by the time you reach age 30 and how rapidly you lose it after that. The higher your peak bone mass, the more bone you have "in the bank" and the less likely you are to develop osteoporosis as you age.

    What affects bone health?

    A number of factors can affect bone health. For example:
    • The amount of calcium in your diet. A diet low in calcium contributes to diminished bone density, early bone loss and an increased risk of fractures.
    • Physical activity. People who are physically inactive have a higher risk of osteoporosis than do their more-active counterparts.
    • Tobacco and alcohol use. Research suggests that tobacco use contributes to weak bones. Similarly, regularly having more than two alcoholic drinks a day increases the risk of osteoporosis, possibly because alcohol can interfere with the body's ability to absorb calcium.
    • Gender, size and age. You're at greater risk of osteoporosis if you're a woman, because women have less bone tissue than do men. You're also at risk if you're extremely thin (with a body mass index of 19 or less) or have a small body frame because you may have less bone mass to draw from as you age. Also your bones become thinner and weaker as you age.
    • Race and family history. You're at greatest risk of osteoporosis if you're white or of Asian descent. In addition, having a parent or sibling who has osteoporosis puts you at greater risk — especially if you also have a family history of fractures.
    • Hormone levels. Too much thyroid hormone can cause bone loss. In women, bone loss increases dramatically at menopause due to dropping estrogen levels. Prolonged periods absence of menstruation (amenorrhea), before menopause also increases the risk of osteoporosis. In men, low testosterone levels can cause a loss of bone mass.
    • Eating disorders and other conditions. People who have anorexia or bulimia are at risk of bone loss. In addition, stomach surgery (gastrectomy), weight-loss surgery and conditions such as Crohn's disease, celiac disease and Cushing's disease can affect your body's ability to absorb calcium.
    • Certain medications. Long-term use of corticosteroid medications, such as prednisone, cortisone, prednisolone and dexamethasone, are damaging to bone. Other drugs that may increase the risk of osteoporosis include aromatase inhibitors to treat breast cancer, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, methotrexate, some anti-seizure medications and proton pump inhibitors