Our bones are very important. They make up the skeletal system and help protect the vital organs of the body. If you’ve ever broken a bone before, you are familiar with how painful it can be. Bones contain a large amount of nerves and when the bone breaks, those nerves separate from each other causing more of a pain than any activity that caused the break was worth. Doctors will tell you that when a bone heals from a break, it will grow back stronger than it was before the break. That may well be true, but there are other steps to take to make your bones stronger than breaking them.

There are many ways to increase the strength of your bones. Everyone needs healthy, sturdy bones, but unfortunately strong bones won’t prevent every break, especially those coming from powerful forces. If you follow a few simple steps, though, you can prevent a lot of fractures and prevent the onset of osteopenia or osteoporosis.

Here are 5 ways to increase your bone strength and ensure you won’t fall victim to a break or fracture from simple forces that could’ve been prevented.

Spend 15 minutes in the sun every day. That giant star that we get our light from happens to give off an enormous amount of Vitamin D. This vitamin is very underrated and a fear of skin cancer combined with various forms of entertainment, (i.e. video games) has confined an entire generation indoors. If you can get at least 15 minutes a day of sunlight, you will absorb natural Vitamin D and not only be more healthy overall, but your bones will get one of the vital vitamins they may be missing.

“Take your vitamins!” “Yes, Mom!” Apart from getting Vitamin D from the sun, you need to make sure you are getting all the vitamins and minerals your body needs. Multi-vitamins are a great way to do this. In a perfect world, you would get all your nutrition from the foods you eat, but it seems to be increasingly tougher in American society to achieve this. That’s no excuse, as you still have the ability and choice to control what you put into your body. For years, the consensus has been that calcium is the most important mineral for your bone strength. A ton of recent studies have shown that Vitamin K is actually more important for your bone density. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t continue to drink your milk or take calcium supplements, but don’t leave out super foods such as avocados, which have a large amount of Vitamin K.

Lift weights. Stronger muscles lead to stronger bones. It’s that simple. Stronger muscles will also provide a barrier around your bones and can help prevent a fracture.

Walk it out. Weight-bearing activities such as walking and running work wonders for the strength and density of your bones. You have to keep moving as you age. We are designed for locomotion.

Always remember: “It’s never too late”. Yes, it’s true that you will begin to lose bone density (osteopenia) as you age. That is part of the aging process. It’s also true that women are more susceptible to osteopenia and osteoporosis (thinning bones) than men. The good news is that the thicker your bones are before the age of 30, the better chance you have of prolonging the onset of either osteopenia or osteoporosis. If you are reading this now, and you happen to be older than 30 or already experiencing symptoms of either low bone mineral density or thinning bones, it’s never too late! Just as you will always have the ability to add new muscle to your body, you will also always be able to strengthen your bones. The process is slowed by the way your body reabsorbs bone cells quicker than your body can make new ones (as you age), but new gains are not prevented. The time to start is now, regardless of your situation or age.