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.

Take a Walk in the Park, 3-Day Style

Now that spring is here, everyone is itching to get outside and into the sun. And this weekend is the perfect motivation to get you moving! Get out and get your steps in, but instead of walking on a track or at the gym, we want to see you all heading to the park to walk in the sun. Here are some fun ways to get your steps in…

Explore a new park

This is an easy one! Training can become monotonous if you’re always walking in the same park or area, so pick someplace new this weekend! Do some searching, and even take a bit of a drive if you need to, to find a picturesque and unique place to get moving. Websites like AllTrails.com, TrailLink.com and MapMyWalk.com can help you find a new park or trail in your area.

Do a lightning round

If you live in an area with lots of parks or hiking trails, hit as many as you can in one day! Walk 1-2 miles (or even less if you like) in each location, and then move on to the next fun spot. This is a great way to get in a lot of miles with nice built-in breaks. For first-time walkers or those who haven’t done a ton of training yet, kick your spring walks off with this idea!

Go for a hike

This is not the same thing as a walk! Find an area with more of an incline, be it a national park or a mountain (depending on where you live) and lace up those hiking boots. This will be a different type of training, and indeed a different type of park experience. That will help add some variety to your training schedule and prepare you for any hills you might hit on the 3-Day course!

Make it a nature walk

Collect cool flowers, leaves and other elements of nature as you walk. Make sure this is allowed by the park first, as some places do not allow you to remove the nature. However, if it is permitted, it’s a great activity to have on your mind as you walk and will really make you appreciate your natural surroundings. Then, use those petals and leaves for a later team building event and make fun art or pressed flowers that will always remind you of your 3-Day team. 😊

Plan a picnic at the end

This will take some coordination but work with your family or friends to have someone meet you at the end of your 3-Day training walk with a picnic reward! Have as many pink items (think strawberries, pink lemonade, cookies and more!) as you can in the picnic and celebrate a walk well stepped.

If you need some more inspiration for your weekend walks, here are some other blog posts to check out:

Are you going on a training walk this weekend? Tell us how you’re getting outside this spring!

 

For tips about healthy living, click here for advice and support to keep you on track for the 3-Day and beyond. http://the3day.co/amgen2019. Thanks to the support of Amgen and in partnership with American Bone Health, the Healthy Living series was designed to prepare your mind, body and bones for the 3-Day.

Cold Weather Training Ideas

Winter officially starts next week, but that doesn’t mean cold weather hasn’t hit much of the country already. That means if you’re already training for 2019, or just want to get a head start on your New Year’s Resolutions, the cold can put a damper on your work out goals. But don’t let the weather hold you back! Here are some ideas for ways to make the most of cold weather training this month and into the new year…

Layer Up

You can always remove layers as you walk, so add more layers than you think you’ll need. Always be sure to add a hat and gloves because you lose heat fast through your hands and the top of your head. Then layer on thin shirts, sweatshirts and coats or whatever you feel most comfortable with. Better to be a warm walker than a cold one!

Never forget to hydrate

This is KEY. Just because you’re cold, does NOT mean you don’t need water or other hydration during your training. Drink as you walk and try to stay away from dehydrating drinks like coffee or tea for a bit after your work-out.

Limit your mileage

Tackle your mileage goal throughout the day in smaller amounts. It will make the steps go quicker and let you conquer the other parts of your day with ease. Plus, you don’t want to be out in the cold that long! 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 do a quick outside walk after work. You’ll get the same number of steps, but in a more manageable fashion.

Choose your route carefully

If you are walking outside, be certain that you’re walking someplace familiar and pay close attention to the terrain with each step. If the sidewalks have not been cleared of ice and snow, walk in the street. Also, be on the lookout for black ice! 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 looking!

Get your groove on

Did you know we have a cold weather Spotify playlist especially made to motivate you during the winter? Add it to your phone and let it fuel your steps! A good song from your favorite artist is just what you need for motivation.

Stay indoors (if you must)

Just because its nasty outside, doesn’t mean you’re off the hook for training! Find someplace indoors to get moving. While we don’t recommend that you do all 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.

Get your cardio in different ways

If you don’t like walking inside, don’t worry, you can 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. Make the most of winter!

What are your favorite winter training ideas? Share them with us in the comments!