Boost Bone Health with Ayurveda

Maintain Strong Bones for Mountain Living

When you’re hurtling down Riva or climbing Davos, it’s easy to feel indestructible, but while living in the moment can be great for mental health, it’s not always best for your physical body. When it comes to bone health, the earlier you start thinking about maintaining it as you age, the longer you’ll be able to continue enjoying the mountain activities you love.

This preventative health philosophy is at the heart of a traditional style of medicine called Ayurveda, which calls the bone tissue Asthi Dhatu, meaning “stability,” and in its ancient texts, describes a person with healthy bones as enthusiastic, active and enduring — all qualities we hope will keep us on the mountain for years to come.

Your bones provide your body with structure and strength, protecting your organs and facilitating movement. And while it seems like they finish forming around adolescence and remain that way for the rest of your life, they actually require a bit more nurturing than you may realize.

“At a cellular level, the human skeleton is in a constant state of flux between new bone formation and old bone resorption,” explains Dr. Zoe Watson, founder of Wellgood Wellbeing based in London, England. Watson reveals that cells called osteoblasts are constantly building bone while osteoclasts tear old tissue down and reabsorb the minerals.

Basically, bones are rebuilding themselves all the time, and when they don’t have the materials they need to do so, it’s like leaving a half-built house out in winter without any protective sheeting; things are going to deteriorate, fast.

Bone density naturally declines as you age, reducing your strength and potentially leaving you exposed to conditions like osteopenia or even osteoporosis, a so-called “silent disease” that occurs without symptoms, that is, until you fall skiing and fracture your hip or suddenly experience severe back pain as a result of a collapsed vertebrae.

Though there are genetic factors involved in low bone density, environmental influences also play a role. Research into exactly how your lifestyle and environment might affect bone health have produced conflicting results. Exposure to sunlight is thought to contribute to higher bone density, which should put Colorado residents at a significant advantage, but other studies suggest that high altitude living could lead to a loss of bone mineral content.

What’s for sure is that you want to keep your bones as strong as possible. Modern medicine proposes a diet rich in calcium and vegetables to aid bone health, as well as regular weight-bearing exercise, from working out at the gym to hiking and running where you’re carrying your own body weight. In addition, Ayurveda recommends specific therapies that you can introduce into your routine starting today to maintain that all important stability.