Kids’ exercise: The key to building better bones

Playing on the jungle gym can help your child’s bone health throughout his or her entire life.

Amazing, right?

Children can build strong bones by exercising. Dr. Jacob Lonsdale is a Marshfield Clinic pediatric orthopedist who does not perform any operations.

He said that 80-90 percent of bone density is achieved by the age of 18 “Childhood, pre-adolescence and childhood are the most active years for building bone density and can have a significant impact on your bone health throughout your entire life.”

Exercise can be fun for kids

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that children exercise for 60 minutes per day. However, this doesn’t mean that they have to walk for an hour or lift weights.

Running, jumping, and resistance to body weight from playing and sport builds bone strength.

Lonsdale stated that the best type of activity is one that your child enjoys, and can be done with minimal equipment and space requirements. For younger children, it’s likely to be tag or climbing on a jungle gym. It becomes more organized as kids age.

Healthy bones require healthy nutrition

Bone growth is dependent on adequate calcium and vitamin D.

Calcium-rich foods include white beans, low-fat dairy products, leafy green vegetables, spinach, and broccoli.

Children under 10 years old should consume 700-1, 000 mg of calcium each day or three to four 8-ounce glasses milk per day. For older children, it is recommended to consume around 1,300 mg of calcium.

Your body can produce vitamin D by getting three to five minutes sun exposure per week. People who don’t have much sunlight all year can benefit from a vitamin D supplement.

Healthful habits are essential

Children can promote bone growth by exercising and eating a healthy diet.

As we age, bone density can be maintained by eating right, exercising, and abstaining from alcohol and tobacco.