How to Boost Your Bone Health

One in two women and up to one in four men over the age of 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF). Osteoporosis is a bone disease characterized by fragile and brittle bones. It’s often called a “silent disease” because you typically don’t have symptoms until you break a bone.

Many senior adults believe osteoporosis is a normal part of aging and there’s nothing you can do about it. But that’s not the case. Osteoporosis is not only treatable, it’s preventable. As we celebrate National Osteoporosis Month this May, let’s take a look at what you can do to prevent osteoporosis and how Park Springs can help.

Ways to protect your bones from osteoporosis

Here are four ways you can protect your bones from osteoporosis:

Get plenty of calcium and vitamin D. Your bones need these nutrients to remain strong and dense as you age. Your body can’t make calcium to build bones. That’s why it’s important to get it from foods, such as:

  • Milk, cheese, and yogurt
  • Leafy green vegetables
  • Beverages such as juices, soymilk, and bottled water with added calcium
  • Cereals and breads with added calcium

The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases recommends that women over 51 get 1,200 mg of calcium daily from food and supplements. Men from 51 to 70 should get 1,000 mg of calcium daily, and men over 70 should get 1,200 mg daily.

Vitamin D protects your bones by helping your body absorb calcium. The National Institutes of Health recommends men and women from 51 to 70 get 600 international units (IU) daily, and men and women over 70 get 800 IU daily. You can get vitamin D from three sources:

  • Foods including fatty fish, plus milk, orange juice, and cereals fortified with vitamin D
  • Sunlight triggers your skin to make vitamin D
  • Supplements can help you get more vitamin D if you’re not getting enough from food and sunlight

You should also limit alcohol and caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea, and soft drinks, suggests the National Osteoporosis Foundation. They may interfere with calcium absorption and contribute to bone loss. For coffee lovers, the NOF suggests no more than 3 cups a day.

Get plenty of exercise. To build and maintain dense bones, you have to engage in weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening exercises.

  • Weight-bearing exercises are workouts you do on your feet, forcing your bones and muscles to work against gravity to keep you upright. Examples include tennis, dancing, and walking or jogging.
  • Muscle-strengthening exercises include lifting free weights, using weight machines, and working out with elastic exercise bands.

Get plenty of bone-healthy foods. In addition to foods high in calcium and vitamin D, your bones also need other nutrients like magnesium and potassium. You can get these from fruits such as oranges, bananas, and strawberries, and vegetables such as spinach, sweet potatoes, and bell peppers.

Get help to quit smoking. Studies show that smoking decreases bone density.

Ways Park Springs supports bone health

At Park Springs, strengthening and maintaining healthy bones is part of our overall mission to promote healthy lifestyles for our Members. We offer:

Additionally, we incorporate balance training into many of our classes including water yoga, tai chi, and stretch, tone & balance. Plus, our fitness trainers incorporate balance training into our Members’ personal fitness plans.

“Balance training is so important as you get older,” says Dr Khan, Park Springs Medical Director and Geriatrician. “Not only does it help with posture, it lowers your risk of falling and breaking a bone.”

To learn more about osteoporosis, visit the National Osteoporosis Foundation. To discover more about healthy living at Park Springs, contact one of our Residency Counselors at 678-684-3300.