5 Tips for Maintaining Bone Strength As You Age

Maintaining Bone Strength, Sherry Neyman, MD

You probably don’t spend much time thinking about your bones, but maybe you should. Over the course of a lifetime, most women lose about half of the spongy tissue inside your long bones. Women also lose a significant amount of the dense tissue that covers their bones.

The majority of bone loss happens after menopause, so it’s especially important to take steps to protect your bones as you age. Starting younger is better, of course, but there are ways to keep your bones strong no matter how old you are.

Exercise

Regular weight-bearing exercise is one of the best ways to keep your bones strong. Varying your exercise routine is an important part of keeping your bones healthy, as well. Plus, doing a variety of exercises helps prevent boredom.  

Weight-bearing exercises may use your own body weight, and others involve using weights like dumbbells, or resistance bands. Walking or using machines such as an elliptical or stair stepper may be preferable to high impact exercises that include jumping or running.

Nutrition

You probably already know the importance of calcium when it comes to bone strength. The best source of calcium is your diet. Dairy products, fish, and green leafy vegetables are all excellent sources of calcium.

Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium, so you may want to discuss your vitamin D levels with Dr. Neyman. Dietary sources of vitamin D include fish, beef liver, eggs, and foods that have specifically been fortified with it, such as cereal.

If you struggle to get enough calcium and vitamin D through your diet, supplements may be necessary. Dr. Neyman is happy to talk to you about the proper amount and types of supplements you may need.

Quit smoking

There are many good reasons you should consider quitting smoking, and bone health is one of them. Studies have demonstrated a direct connection between smoking and lowered bone density. In addition, smoking makes it more likely you’ll fracture a bone, and more be difficult to heal following a fracture.

Limit or avoid other vices

Alcohol, caffeine, soft drinks, and sodium should all be added to your list of things to avoid in order to protect your bones. Over-indulgence in any of those substances can interfere with your body’s ability to process the nutrients that keep your bones healthy.

You need a certain amount of sodium to be healthy. And, one study found that people who have half to one serving of alcohol per day have a lower risk of hip fracture than those who abstain completely. The key is to find the most appropriate amount for your health.

Take medications into account

There are two ways that medications can impact your bone health. Some medications are damaging to your bones, but others can increase bone strength.

If you use corticosteroids like prednisone or dexamethasone, you should discuss the risk they may pose to your bone health. On the other hand, depending on your risk factors and medical history, Dr. Neyman may suggest you consider treatments such as hormone replacement therapy or bisphosphonates.

Your bones are as unique as you are, so any plan to protect them should be designed specifically to suit your situation. Book an appointment with Dr. Neyman online or by phone to begin developing a plan to keep your bones healthy and strong, no matter your age.

 

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