Healthy Living: Preparing Your Mind, Body and Bones for the 3-Day

Thanks to the support of Amgen and working in partnership with American Bone Health we are excited to provide you with a special series of emails, blogs and additional resources that will help prepare you for this life-changing event, as well as year-round health.

Why calcium is important and how you can incorporate it into your diet

Special Guest Contributor: Shirin Hooshmand PhD, RD

Whenever I speak with people about bone health, they always have the most questions about calcium.

Calcium is one of the most important and plentiful minerals in the body. When calcium combines with phosphate, it becomes the material that makes the bones and teeth strong. We also need calcium for transmitting nerve impulses, contracting muscles and clotting blood.

The body regulates the calcium that is circulating in the blood and tissues. Calcium is absorbed in the intestines and either reclaimed or excreted by the kidneys. If the blood level of calcium falls, glands in the body signal the bones to release calcium into the blood. Over time, if that calcium isn’t replenished, bone loss could occur. That is why it is important to get enough calcium, preferably through food.

Vitamin D and calcium work together. When calcium works its way through the stomach and into the intestines, vitamin D helps with absorption of calcium into the blood stream. Without sufficient vitamin D, you will absorb less calcium from your diet.

Children need the most calcium while their bones are growing. For women, after peak bone mass is obtained, the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for calcium goes down and then goes up again around the age of menopause, when women start to lose bone mass because of declines in estrogen levels. As we age, calcium metabolism is harder to maintain and the RDA stays the same.

Life stage group Calcium
RDA
Calcium rich servings Vitamin D RDA
9–18 years old 1,300 4 600
19–50 years old 1,000 3 600
MEN: 51–70 years old 1,000 3 600
WOMEN: 51–70 years old 1,200 4 600
71+ years old 1,200 4 800

Sometimes it’s easier to think about calcium in terms of servings of food. Getting calcium from food is the best option since your body is better able to put it to use. The best sources of dietary calcium are foods that have 200 or more milligrams per serving. This includes dairy or calcium-fortified foods such as milk, cheese, fortified juices and cereals, and you will see on the labels that they contain anywhere from 200 to 400 milligrams per serving. Fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds have smaller amounts of calcium, and the calcium in fruits and vegetables attaches to fiber and passes through the body.

Try to find three or four sources of high amounts of calcium that work for you each day. You can also think about how to have one source of a high amount of calcium at every meal.

HIGH CALCIUM FOODS (contain 200+ mg) MODERATE CALCIUM FOODS (contain 50-200 mg) LOW CALCIUM FOODS (contain <50 mg)
Dairy Foods Almonds Nuts and seeds
Sardines Beans Broccoli
Fortified cereals Canned salmon Cabbage
Fortified soy milk Green vegetables Fruits
Fortified tofu Breads

What if I’m lactose intolerant?

People who are lactose intolerant are at risk of not getting enough calcium. There is no cure for lactose intolerance, but here are some things you can do to reduce symptoms.

Try to reduce the amount of lactose per serving rather than avoiding it. Some studies show people with lactose intolerance can eat at least 12 grams of lactose (equivalent to 1 cup of milk) with minor or no symptoms. When lactose is taken with other foods, some people can tolerate up to 18 grams.

Shop for lactose-free milk. Milk that has been treated with lactase is widely available and often well tolerated by people with lactose intolerance.

Think about hard cheeses. Hard cheeses, such as most cheddars, Parmigiano-Reggiano and Romano, do not have lactose since their lactose is changed into lactic acid as the cheese ages.

Try soy-based beverages that are fortified with calcium. Soy-based beverages are the only plant-based option listed on MyPlate. Other plant- and nut-based beverages, such as rice and almond beverages, may not have the same nutritional value as soy. It’s important to read food labels carefully.

Most importantly, try to get a balanced diet with 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. With a balanced diet, you are sure to get all of the additional vitamins and minerals you need for strong bones.

About Dr. Hooshmand

Shirin Hooshmand, PhD, RD, is a member of the American Bone Health Medical and Scientific Advisory Board. Dr. Hooshmand is Associate Professor of Nutrition at the School of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences at San Diego State University. She received her PhD at Florida State University working in the area of nutrition, bone, and cartilage. Her current research interests include bone and calcium metabolism, osteoporosis and osteoarthritis, and functional foods. She has published 45 original articles in peer reviewed journals and presented more than 90 abstracts in national and international symposiums.

Motivation Monday: What Walking Can Do for You

It’s a new week, and the first full week of a new month. We should be ready to jump out of bed and take on the day! That’s not always the case though, because Mondays can be hard. Luckily, we have another dose of Monday Motivation to jump start your weekly training for the 3-Day. One easy way to get moving is to remember all the benefits of walking—physical, mental and emotional. Here are some of the life-changing benefits of taking those extra steps:

race_3016_photo_47581331

It reduces the risk of developing breast cancer: According to research conducted by Susan G. Komen®, women who get any regular exercise or physical activity have a lower risk of breast cancer than women who are inactive.

It helps curb a sweet tooth: One good move begets another! Once you get out and moving, you’ll probably also want to treat your body well on the inside. Try one of our smoothie recommendations after your walk to keep your health-kick moving.

It will get you outside: We’re right in the heart of winter, which means you are spending more time inside than in other times of year. Getting outside gives you Vitamin D from the sun, and also a nice bit of fresh air! Working out in the gym is good too, but if you can get outside, it will help you feel even more invigorated.

race_3019_photo_47669887

It promotes heart health: Heart health is hugely important for your vitality, so getting out for a walk can help your health now and in the long run. Plus, February is Heart Health Month, so your walk is actually a celebration!

A little bit goes a long way: You don’t need to have an intense exercise routine to lower your risk of breast cancer. If you haven’t been doing much training yet, just getting up and getting moving will help you look good, feel good and kick start your training for future walks.

It keeps you social: Make a Friend Day is coming up on February 11th, so grab your teammates or other friends and lace up your walking shoes. It’s a great way to pencil in some catch-up time with someone you haven’t seen in a while or start a walking club with a group. Being around friends will always help put a smile on your face!

race_3019_photo_47669818

 

It’s a mood booster: Any physical activity, walking included, can help with your overall mood and energy level. Guess that’s why they call it putting some pep in your step!

What other benefits do you get from walking, besides training for an excellent sixty miles, that is!?

REMINDER: The health, safety and training information contained in this blog post, or otherwise provided to you in connection with your participation in the 3-Day, is not intended to replace or be construed as medical advice and any such information is not a substitute for seeking medical advice or treatment from your medical provider. Before starting any exercise program or following any recommendations, advice or other instructions regarding training for the 3-Day or any athletic event, you should first consult a physician and have a physical examination.

race_3018_photo_40560244

 

Cold Weather Training Tips

January may still be a little bit early in the year to start your official 3-Day training, but if you’re eager to get started training your body to be able to walk 60 miles this summer, let’s chat about walking when the weather is not so pleasant. You may be wondering, “How can I get my 3-Day training walks in when it’s minus freezing degrees outside?”

cold-weather-walking

All about those waterproof layers!

Here are some tips for walking in a winter wonderland:

Dress for the occasion – Before stepping outside, you’ll probably be inclined to bundle up in your down parka, but if you’re taking a walk, it may be better to dress in lighter, thinner layers, and shed as you go if you need to. Moisture-wicking fabric is best for the layer closest to your skin. You may be cold, but if you’re moving, you’re sweating, and the only thing worse than being really cold is being really cold and wet. Also, don’t forget hats and gloves, and whenever possible, wear bright colors and/or reflective materials so you stand out against your white-grey environment.

race_3020_photo_49091384-2

Look at how happy some of our 3-Dayers look in their gloves!

Warm your digits – One 3-Day coach loves those chemical-activated hand and foot warmers (available in the camping section of any sporting goods store). They are a quick, inexpensive way to keep your fingers and toes toasty. They fit snugly inside your gloves and your shoes and will ease the shock of the freezing temps on your extremities.

Take care of your skin – Cold air and wind can really do a number on exposed skin, so don’t forget to put on moisturizer before heading out. Sunscreen, too, is a must have for training any day of the week, any time of the year.

amy-schwager

One of our coaches, Amy Schwager, stayed bundled in 2016 

Hydrate – Drinking water when it’s hot out is a no brainer. You crave the cool water to quench the heat. It can be harder to remember to hydrate in the cold, but it’s no less essential when you’re exercising. If you normally carry your water in a fanny pack while you walk, think about holding it in your hand while walking in the cold, as an ever-present reminder to sip as you step.

Cool it on the mileage – There are many reasons why the 3-Day events take place in the late summer and fall, and it’s not just about walking those 60 miles in nicer weather; it’s also because we know that many of you superstar walkers can’t even really start training until the ground beneath you thaws out. But if you’re the type of go-getter who just can’t wait until the mercury rises, you can at least be comforted knowing that it’s okay to keep your walks short and sweet at this point. Once spring comes around and mother nature is a more agreeable training partner, then you can start upping the distance of your training walks.

race_3020_photo_49091415

Fun AND functional hats and scarfs 

Choose your route carefully – Be certain that you’re walking someplace familiar, and be ready to pay close attention to the terrain with every step. If the sidewalks have not been cleared of ice and snow, walk in the street. (And on that note, make sure you’re wearing good shoes that have a little bit of traction on the sole.) Always tell someone where you’re going and when you expect to be back. If you get lost in a snow drift, they’ll want to know where to start digging!

Stay indoors – Wait, you’re not off the hook for training! But if it’s just too nasty outside, find someplace indoors to get moving. While we don’t recommend that you do all of your 3-Day training on a treadmill, it’s a perfectly good alternative to outdoor walking if you need it. No treadmill? Throw on your shoes and walk on an indoor track, through a shopping mall, or up and down the stairs in your office building. One of our coaches also suggested college campuses as places that often have large and/or interconnected buildings, and lovely grounds you can walk through.

Tell us your favorite cold weather walking tips!

race_3017_photo_48476814

Remember to always keep your socks dry!

REMINDER: The health, safety and training information contained in this blog post, or otherwise provided to you in connection with your participation in the 3-Day, is not intended to replace or be construed as medical advice and any such information is not a substitute for seeking medical advice or treatment from your medical provider. Before starting any exercise program or following any recommendations, advice or other instructions regarding training for the 3-Day or any athletic event, you should first consult a physician and have a physical examination.