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.

Tips for 3-Day First Timers from 3-Day Past Participants

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Whether it’s your first 3-Day or your thirtieth, there’s a bunch of small ways that you can greatly enhance experience on the 3-Day. We polled our Facebook community to find out their top tips before our Philadelphia 3-Day this weekend, and we think new 3-Dayers will find these especially helpful. Let’s hear what they have to say!

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“Change socks at lunch every day! Enjoy the walk and meet new people while listening to their inspiring stories.” – Laura Miehls

“Walk at the same pace you train. If you are on the route all day – awesome! And if you are back to camp by 1:00, awesome! You do you!” – Melissa Polma Loder (*Note below*)

“Take the leap and meet three people every day. The stories will be humbling and some friendships life-long.” – Chris Lynn Reed

“Moleskin is your friend! And don’t be afraid to visit the Medical Tent. There are amazing people working there!” – Micki Mathiesen

Day 1 of the Susan G. Komen 3day walk in Novi, Michigan on August 4, 2017.

“It’s not a race, it’s a walk… enjoy the time with your fellow walkers, everyone has a story. Remember, even if you are a solo walker, you are never alone in the pink bubble.” -Tiffany Thomas

“Have a blast! Journal. It will be fun to look back. Be ready for amazing memories to be made and your heart to grow!” -Tara Anne Hart

“Listen to your body and do what’s best for you. There is no right or wrong (well, within reason and as long as you are observing the three Rs); so don’t hesitate to make the event everything you’d like it to be.”  -Anne Moss

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“Your Route Safety crew loves to dance while we wait with you for traffic lights to change! Oh and we love hugs and high-fives too!

“But, listen to them as well. We know where the bad intersections are and are there to keep you safe. We step out into the streets before you do. Help us keep safe as well.

“And above all have a good time. Laugh, cry, hug, dance, reflect, remember.” – Kristian Kauker

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“Talk to strangers and take candy from strangers. Do what your mother told you NOT to do!” -Joanne Gregory

“Don’t be in rush. Go slow and enjoy all the love and support.” – Pam Ater

NOW – if you’re a 3-Day veteran what would you add? 3-Day first timers; any questions for us? We can’t wait to see you in Dallas/Fort Worth or San Diego this year, or next year!

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Note: All pit stops have designated opening and closing hours, timed to keep you moving along the route at a safe pace and to ensure that you complete your walking while it is still light out. If you reach a pit stop before it opens, you will be asked to stop and wait. If you reach a pit stop after it closes, you will be transported to the lunch stop (or camp, if you have already passed the lunch stop). A “caboose” will be following the last walker on the route. If you are falling behind schedule, you will be given the option to take a sweep van to the next pit stop if you cannot increase your pace. Read more about cabooses, sweeps and route hours on our blog.

Make the Most of Indoor Training

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As winter really picks up steam, and snow covers many parts of the country, it’s indoor training time for a lot of our 3-Dayers. After a few of you reached out on social media, asking for tips and inspiration to keep up with your training, even in colder temperatures. We are here to deliver! If you’re having trouble keeping up with your training goals indoors, we have some simple tricks to keep you on target.

Stay Motivated

We’ve talked to our coaches about their New Year’s Resolutions, but what are yours? We all know goal setting is important to organize your scheduled and keep up with your training plan, but they can also help you stay motivated! Give yourself weekly and monthly training goals, and pre-determine a reward for yourself.  If you need a little spa time, book a massage when you hit your goal of miles for the week. If you love shopping, buy yourself something nice when you get to the gym! Whatever it is, do something nice for yourself to help you stay motivated.

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Find What Gets You Going

Do you need to create a pump-up playlist? Let your favorite tunes motivate you. Do you like to get engrossed in a good story? Download a podcast. Have a TV show you want to binge watch? Bring your tablet or iPad to the gym and watch on the treadmill. Need a little time with your friends? Schedule a group work out with all your favorite people. Find what gets you moving and grooving, and use that to motivate your work outs.

Divide and Conquer

Tackle your mileage goal for the day in a few spurts. It will make the steps go quicker and let you conquer the other parts of your day with ease. Plus, if you’re walking long distances on a treadmill, it can get monotonous! So, instead of trying to walk 15 miles in a row, break it up throughout the day. Do an early morning gym visit and walk half of your goal, then head to the gym after work. You’ll get the same number of steps, but in a more manageable fashion.

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Spice It Up

We love our training walks, and getting to spend time with all of you as a 3-Day family. However, if the weather isn’t warm enough in your hometown, you might not be able to swing a long walk outside. How about walking laps around the local mall instead? Or, mix it up and get your cardio some other way! From spin class to group cardio and barre work outs, there are plenty of ways to get your heart pumping inside this season.

How do you get your steps in during the winter? What’s your favorite indoor work out? Tell us in the comments! It might just inspire your fellow walkers…