As we age, so do our bones, and certain issues can arise as a result – including osteoporosis. A dangerous bone disease, osteoporosis occurs when the body makes too little bone, too much bone, or both, causing the bone structure to lose density and become weak. When this happens, the bones are more likely to break. If you’re interested in learning how to maintain your bone health, consult your doctor and review our tips below.
Did you know that 54 million Americans have osteoporosis? Although this is a common health issue, it is also very serious and can lead to bone fractures, limited mobility, isolation, depression, and even permanent pain. So, if you’re 50 or older and have broken a bone, it’s important to ask your doctor about a bone density test. In addition, all people should learn how to maintain both health to prevent the likelihood of osteoporosis.
How to Maintain Bone Health
Eat Foods Rich in Calcium
Calcium goes hand in hand with bone health. In fact, about 99 percent of the calcium found in your body is located in your bones and teeth! When our bodies don’t receive the calcium they need, they begin taking it from our bones, which can lead to osteoporosis. Seniors should aim to consume 1,200 mg of calcium per day through their diet or supplements. Calcium-rich foods include milk, yogurt, cheese, and certain green vegetables. In addition, some products (including some breads, soy milks, cereals, juices, etc.) contain added calcium. Although food is the best source of calcium, supplements are an option as well. Ask your doctor for more information about calcium supplements if you’re interested.
Consume Enough Vitamin D
Did you know that vitamin D also plays an important role in bone health? It helps your body absorb calcium and also supports your muscles, which can help you avoid falls. If your body lacks vitamin D, you can get more by spending time in the sunlight, consuming foods that contain vitamin D (like fatty fish or vitamin D-enriched dairy products), or taking vitamin D supplements. If you’re concerned that you have vitamin D deficiency, talk to your doctor.
Get Your Body Moving
Remember that bones are active, living tissue. To build and maintain strong bones, you need to exercise as well. When you exercise, you stimulate the cells in your bones, which causes them to fortify themselves. Focus on weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening exercises:
- Weight-Bearing Exercises: With these exercises, you move against gravity while staying upright. Examples include brisk walking, dancing, aerobics, hiking, jogging, climbing stairs, tennis, and using an elliptical machine.
- Muscle-Strengthening Exercises: With these exercises, which are also called resistance exercises, you move your body, a weight, or some other resistance against gravity. Examples include lifting weights, using elastic exercise bands or weight machines, lifting your own body weight, or performing certain functional movements. Yoga and pilates are options as well, though it’s important to note that some poses and movements are not safe for those who already have osteoporosis.
Talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise routine. Several factors will impact which exercises you can complete safely, including your balance, range of motion, muscle strength, and level of physical activity.
With calcium, vitamin D, and exercise, you can maintain your bone health and reduce your likelihood of developing osteoporosis.
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