Optimal Bone Health

Parkview Sports Medicine

​Optimal Bone Health

Nutrition and optimal bone health are closely related. Females accumulate 90 percent of their peak bone density by age 18, and regular physical activity helps maximize bone density, even into adulthood. Completing high-impact, weight-bearing exercises for more than four hours per week can help improve stability and strength, while reducing your risk of stress fractures and premature bone loss.

Healthy athletes typically have a higher bone mineral density than sedentary individuals. However, excessive exercise and over-training can leave female athletes with a negative energy balance, ultimately putting their bone health at risk

Energy Availability and Bone Health

You can think of energy availability as the calories you consume minus the calories you burn during sports or exercise. It is important for you to consume enough quality, nutritional calories to support your workout regimen and enhance your bone health.

When you over-train by substantially increasing the volume or intensity of physical activity, or if you don’t have enough dietary energy, you can develop sustained fatigue and increase your risk of premature osteoporosis, a condition in which you have an exceptionally low bone density for your age. Paying careful attention to your training regimens, and maintaining a positive energy balance, can help you maximize your bone health and overall energy and performance.

Measuring Bone Health

Learning as much as possible about bone health can help you detect, or even prevent, problems early on. Athletes who suffer from multiple fractures or stress fractures may have an underlying bone problem that requires assessment.

A DEXA (dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry) scan is a painless, non-invasive procedure that measures soft tissue and bone. It is the most widely used method for measuring bone density. You should talk to your physician about how the scan can provide information to help ward off bone health issues and build strength for a lifetime.

Eating for Success

Female athletes should eat enough healthy calories to fuel their success, growth and development. Calcium is the primary nutrient that enhances bone health, and you should consume at least 1,300 mg of calcium per day to reduce your risk of stress fractures. However, calcium is not the only factor in ensuring healthy bones.

You should also consume enough vitamin D to further enhance your bone health and athletic performance. Vitamin D is required for your body to properly absorb calcium, which improves your bone density and muscle function. You should consume about 1,000 IU of vitamin D-rich and vitamin D-fortified foods. A vitamin D supplement may be needed if your blood level is low, and especially during winter when sun exposure is at a minimum.

Ways to add more calcium:

  • Add fortified milk to cereal and oatmeal

  • Eat fruit with yogurt for a calcium-rich dip

  • Add cheese to sandwiches

  • Include broccoli or beans in your meals

  • Make a fruit smoothie with milk or yogurt

  • Eat salads with dark green, leafy vegetables like lettuce, spinach, kale and broccoli

  • Choose calcium-fortified orange juice

Ways to add more vitamin D:

  • Spend 20 minutes daily in direct sunlight

  • Even in the winter, add a short walk outside to your morning routine

  • Eat fatty fish, like wild-caught salmon, once a week

  • Pack canned light tuna for lunches

  • Drink fortified milk or orange juice

  • Take a daily supplement

  • Cook a whole egg, rather than just egg whites

  • Choose fortified cereal

Contact Us

For more information, or to schedule a sports nutrition consultation, call (260) 266-4007.

Parkview Sports Medicine

Services provided at AWP Sports Training –
Located within the SportONE Parkview Fieldhouse
3946 Ice Way, Fort Wayne, IN 46808
and on The Summit Campus
1025 W. Rudisill Blvd., Fort Wayne, IN 46807


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