Building Better Bones
Certain lifestyle changes can help to protect and strengthen your bones, no matter what age you are. Here, in recognition of National Osteoporosis Month, our top tips for boosting bone health.
Osteoporosis is often referred to as “the silent thief” because bone loss occurs without symptoms. In fact, many people don’t know they have osteoporosis until a fracture occurs.
In Canada, it is thought that 80 per cent of all fractures are attributed to the disease. And in some cases, even mild stresses such as bending over or lifting a vacuum cleaner can cause a fracture.
Osteoporosis is often thought to be an inevitable part of aging, but this doesn’t need to be the case. Certain lifestyle changes can help to protect and strengthen your bones, no matter what age you are. Here, some tips for boosting bone health.
Get your Vitamin D
Vitamin D plays a vital role in ensuring the body can absorb calcium from your diet and/or supplements. However, vitamin D deficiency continues to be a serious concern in Canada and around the world. Osteoporosis Canada recommends that people over 50 take between 800 International units to 2,000 IU of vitamin D daily to help prevent osteoporosis. Vitamin D may also reduce other health risks such as diabetes and immune system disorders, the agency says.
Foods containing vitamin D are egg yolk, liver and fatty fish, such as salmon, tuna, mackerel and sardines. It is also found in fortified foods such as some cereals, margarine and beverages such as milk and soymilk.
Get regular exercise
Regular exercise, especially weight-bearing activities such as walking or jogging, is an important part of building and maintaining strong bones. And to maintain bone health (as opposed to reaping full cardiovascular benefits) you don’t need that much. In fact, some experts say that 20 minutes of walking 3-4 times a week should do it. Strength-training activities are also important for improving muscle strength and coordination.
And keep in mind that while exercise throughout life is important, you can increase your bone density at any age.
A number of medications are available for people with osteoporosis. Drug treatments can help to prevent further bone loss and reduce fractures. Experts say to discuss the various options with your doctor. The effectiveness, and possible side effects, of the medications vary by individual.
ON THE WEB
For more information, visit www.osteoporosis.ca.