Your bones play an important role in your body, as they protect your organs, offer structure, anchor your muscles and even store calcium. As a child, you strive to build strong, healthy bones. As an adult, you strive to ensure those bones remain strong and healthy. Unfortunately, osteoporosis – a specific condition that results in your body's bones becoming weak and brittle – impacts roughly 75 million individuals in the United States, Europe and Japan. It is estimated that one in every five men and one in every three women over 50 years of age will sustain osteoporotic fractures. With these statistics, it is crucial that people are educated on what they can do to prevent osteoporosis.
1. Make Sure Your Diet Includes Plenty of Calcium
As you were growing up, you probably heard it from your parents all the time: calcium helps build strong bones. In fact, you probably still hear it: from your doctor, on the news, etc. Depending on your age and sex, you should consume somewhere between 1,000 mg and 1,300 mg of calcium if you are 18 years of age or older. Calcium can be taken as a supplement or it can be found naturally in a number of foods. Some of the best sources of calcium are dairy products, such as milk, cheese and yogurt; however, you can also find calcium in non-dairy products, such as broccoli, kale, orange juice, and tortillas.
2. Stay Active
Exercising is important for your overall health, and this includes preventing osteoporosis. The best types of exercises for strengthening your bones are muscle-strengthening and weight-bearing exercises. These types of exercises include strength training, walking, running, dancing, hiking, tennis, jumping rope, etc., as these will help to not only build but also maintain muscle. Don't overlook the importance of yoga and Pilates, as both of these can do wonders at improving your flexibility, balance and overall strength. However, keep in mind that some positions may be unsafe for you if you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis already.
3. Stop Smoking
Most people associate smoking with their lungs. However, smoking actually has a direct affect on your bone health. This is because smoking causes interference with the way that your body uses vitamin D. Since vitamin D is necessary for your body to properly absorb calcium, and calcium is needed for your bones to remain strong, smoking can cause your bones to grow weak and fragile. As a smoker, you are 2.5 times more at risk of developing osteoporosis than a non-smoker. If you continue to smoke after you reach 30 years of age, bone mass loss will speed up – up to two times faster, in fact. Therefore, the sooner you can quit smoking, the better off your bones will be.
Talk to your doctor about osteoporosis treatments.