Strong and healthy bones are essential as we age, especially for those with reduced bone density such as in osteoporosis who have an increased risk and incidence of fractures.
Adolescence is a particularly critical period for bone health. Failure to achieve peak bone mass by the end of adolescence leaves an individual with less reserve to withstand the normal losses during later life. While peak bone mass is in part determined by genetics, it is also influenced by modifiable factors such as diet and exercise.
As we age, are bones get thinner – it’s a fact. The rate at which we break down bone cells surpasses the rate at which we build new bone cells. With an increase in bone density loss, we can become more prone to injury.
Here are 8 tips to help maintain your healthy bone density:
Eat calcium rich foods: dark green leafy vegetables, broccoli, dairy products, almonds, dried figs are good choices.
Take a calcium supplement: During your 20s, 30s and 40s the recommended daily allowance is 1000 mg and this increases up to 1500 mg for women after menopause.
Get your Vitamin D: to assist your body absorb calcium, most adults need 1000-200 IU of Vitamin D daily. Getting a daily dose of sunshine is important, but with more people keeping out of the sun and wearing sunblock, supplements may be needed.
Weight-bearing exercise: to build bone strength, exercise that loads or compresses your bones is best. This includes activities such as: running, jogging, aerobics, stair climbing, dancing and tennis. For those with osteopenia or osteoporosis try walking, using an elliptical or other machine.
Don’t smoke: smoking reduces blood flow to your bones, impairing calcium absorption and slowing production of your bone-forming cells.
Avoid excessive drinking: research has shown people who consume more than 6 drinks/day have an increased likelihood of bone loss.
Get your bone mineral density tested: DEXA scans, a type of X-ray measures bone mineral density and helps determine risks for osteoporosis and fracture.
Consider medication: for women and men with osteoporosis or osteopenia, certain medications can help prevent hip and spine fractures.