As long as you are able to remain active there is a good chance that you give your bone health a second thought. But did you know that after age 30 you start losing bone density? Women will lose up to 20 percent of bone mineral density in the five to seven years after they reach menopause, but by age 65 men and women lose bone density at the same rate. Unfortunately the loss of bone mass could end up causing life changing fractures. What you may not know is that while you cannot prevent the loss of bone mass, you can prevent how quickly you lose it, which in turn can help you to prevent osteoporosis down the road.
What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a condition in which the creation of new bone is unable to keep up with the removal of old bone.
This means that those who develop it have bones that have become weak and brittle, even even something simple as a slight bump could cause a fracture.
This disease often develops unnoticed over many years with no symptoms until a fracture occurs. How likely you are to develop osteoporosis depends on how much bone mass you attained in your youth. The higher your bone peak mass, the more bone you have and the less likely you are to develop osteoporosis as you age. While you cannot prevent osteoporosis there are things you can do to fight against. We did some homework so we could share with you some things you can do to combat loss of bone mass.
When it comes to strong, healthy bones there are two key nutrients: calcium and vitamin D. Calcium supports bone structure while vitamin D improves calcium absorption and bone growth. These important nutrients are not only found in the form of vitamins, but they can be found in the foods you eat as well. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation some good for your bones foods include:
- Low-fat/non-fat milk, yogurt and cheeses
- Sardines and salmon (with bones). Fatty varieties such as salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines.
- Collard greens, turnip greens, kale, okra, Chinese cabbage, dandelion greens, mustard greens and broccoli, spinach, beet greens, artichokes, plantains, sweet potatoes, raisins, brussel sprouts,
- Oranges, prunes, grapefruits, strawberries, papaya and pineapple
The NOF also provides a list of things to avoid, such as alcohol and using a lot of sodium if you want to keep your bones strong and healthy.
It is also a good idea to get up and get moving to help strengthen your bones. Leading a sedentary lifestyle is not good for a great number of reasons. Not all exercise has to be high impact. There are things you can do to ease your way into a healthy lifestyle, such as starting out with some simple chairs exercises and as you build some endurance you can work yourself up to higher impact workouts. Don’t push yourself, start out with what is comfortable to you and you can move at your own pace. Almost any movement is good movement!
Some safe exercises to combat osteoporosis can be found here. Yoga can also be a great way to strengthen bones. We recently shared a blog post about all the of the benefits of yoga. If you have not yet read it, you can find that here.
When it comes to being healthy and feeling good there is definitely nothing that matches up to the feeling you can get from a healthy diet and exercise. There are plenty of older adults who enjoy vigorous health, often better than many younger people when they maintain a healthy lifestyle. There is no greater gift we can give ourselves than a life that is well lived.
If you take medications for Osteoporosis and you need to see which Medicare plan best covers your prescriptions, download our Medicare Plan Questionnaire!