Regular guest blogger nutrition coach Michelle Cartmel takes on bones and bone health this month. 

Hey Ladies!

May is National Osteoporosis Month which means it’s time to get real about bone health.

Women often overlook the importance of bone health because we can’t actually see our bones, right? We think, I’ll never be that hunched-over older woman; how did that happen to her?

Think again! If you don’t take preventative measures to strengthen your bones with diet and exercise, you might be.

Avoiding fats because you think they’ll make you fat? Well, quit it. Embrace good fats for better health. 

Building bone density is important as you get older. If you need help doing that, a menopause-certified health coach can be helpful. Book 30 minutes for your personal consultation with a health coach.

How our bones get built

According to Madeline R. Vann, MPH, women reach their peak bone mass at age 18 and continue to build small amounts of bone mass until age 30. After that time, your body will continue to replace old bone cells, but there will be no more increase in bone mass.

After menopause, bone loss becomes even more rapid.  When your body absorbs minerals like calcium from your bones, bone loss occurs. Our bodies need calcium to strengthen our bones and teeth, so when we don’t get enough of it from diet and supplements, it takes it from our bones.

The takeaway: Prevention should start early, and it’s never too late to start. There are two super easy ways to bolster bone strength: fitness and healthy foods.

Strong bones with exercise

With that in mind, I asked certified trainer and owner of Mercer Island Athletic Club Ginny Pietila to share her three favorite, easy-to-follow exercises that support bone health. These moves focus on the hip and spine, two areas that are especially susceptible to breakages as we age.

Ginny and I walk you through the moves in this short video, and the step-by-step instructions for this workout can also be accessed below.

Diet and bone health

As for your diet, most of us understand that calcium supports healthy bones and teeth, but we should know that Vitamin D is an equal hero, as it improves calcium absorption and bone growth.

For most of us, it can be a challenge to consume the recommended daily intake of calcium and Vitamin D, so let’s start with supplements. According to the Mayo Clinic, when it comes to calcium, women 19-50 should have 1,000 mg/day, and women aged 50+ should have 1,200 mg/day. For Vitamin D, women under 70 should have 600 international units per day and 800 after 70.

Calcium isn’t only found in milk and dairy, although these are great go-to’s.  Calcium is in delicious greens like watercress, kale and collards, spinach, bok choy and Chinese cabbage. Tofu and almond butter are also great sources!

As for Vitamin D, look to the sea … a 3 oz. serving of salmon has 100% of the recommended daily dosage and a 3 oz. serving of tuna has about 40% of the recommended daily amount. Fortified milk and cereal contain Vitamin D, and of course, there’s sunlight.

So, what are you waiting for? Join Ginny and me, and let’s get bullish about bone health together.

Cheers to your health!



Your Bone Strength Workout 2X/Week

3 exercises, 2 sets of each exercise, 12-15 reps each set

Focus:  Hip, spine and wrist bone density


Feet hip distance apart

Keep knees in line with hips and toes, Eyes up, chest up.

Level 1: Bodyweight

Level 2: Weights held down at sides

Level 3: Weights held up at shoulders


Step back lunge, keeping front knee over ankle, back knee 1 inch from the ground.  Eyes up, chest up.

Level 1: Bodyweight alternating right / left each rep

Level 2: Bodyweight 12 on right leg / 12 on left leg

Level 3: Hold weights down at sides

Level 4: Hold weights at shoulder and press up


Use step height appropriate for your level of strength.

Eyes up, chest up with good posture as you lift your knee.

Level 1: Bodyweight alternating right / left each step

Level 2: Bodyweight 12 on right leg / 12 on left leg

Level 3: Hold weights down at sides

Level 4: Hold weights overhead

We’re all about the whole and healthy YOU at Gennev. Learn more about how to manage your risk of osteoporosis and osteopenia, good supplements to help you stay vibrant in midlife, why walking is great exercise at any fitness level, and how to feed your brain for retirement. Also, it’s a great time to start hitting your local farmers’ market and learning to unlock the nutrition in all those mysterious jars and bins in your grocery store bulk section.

Are you living with osteopenia or osteoporosis or the risk of either? How are you managing your health to stay stronger longer? Share with us in the comments, on our Facebook page, or in our closed Facebook group!


Shannon Perry

May 18, 2018
Director of Programming & Media

Medically Reviewed By

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