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National Osteoporosis Month was created to shed light on this very common and degenerative disease that weakens the bones. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, osteoporosis is responsible for more than two million fractures occurring annually.  Although gradual bone loss is normal after the age of 35, there are preventative techniques to keep bones stronger for longer.

Dietary Changes

What you put into your body has a huge impact on bone density. Look for foods high in calcium and vitamin D to nurture your bones. Good sources of these nutrients include fatty fish, dairy products, leafy green vegetables, tomatoes, peppers, citrus fruits, and fortified cereals and breads. If you’re not getting enough of the nutrients from food alone, supplementations may be required. The Institute of Medicine recommends no more than 2,000 mg of calcium daily and 4,000 IU of vitamin D.

On the other hand, certain foods can be detrimental to bone health. For instance, although beans contain calcium, they also have phytates. The National Osteoporosis Foundation warns of phytates interfering with how your body effectively absorbs beans. Thoroughly rinsing the beans before preparation is helpful for reducing phytate levels. Wheat bran also contains phytates and may stop you from absorbing enough calcium in your diet. High sodium diets are also linked to higher rates of bone loss. Always check food labels to better manage your salt intake. You will also want to limit caffeinated beverages and alcohol since excessive use have been attributed to premature bone loss.

Exercise

Your bones require a workout, just like your muscles. Your bones benefit the most from weight bearing workouts. Any kind of weight bearing activity will make your bones stronger as you age. Examples include jogging, water aerobics, Pilates, yoga, tennis, and Zumba. Strength training routines are also useful for fortifying the bones. Start with a modest weight and increase the weight gradually as you grow stronger. You could also perform exercises that use your own body weight such as squats and pushups. At a minimal, you should exercise three to four hours total weekly. Intense exercise is risky for women who don’t wish to develop osteoporosis. Female athletes who train rigorously are at a higher risk of having thinner bones. 

Functional movement and balance building exercises are also an important part of osteoporosis prevention. Functional movement workouts help improve the way your body moves while balance building exercises challenges your balance. Both forms of exercise prevent falls and decrease chances of serious fractures. Examples of these exercises include toe raises, chair lifts, and wall slides.

Additional Warnings

Smoking has been linked to a host of diseases including osteoporosis. In women, smoking causes irregularities with their hormones, leading to weaker bones. Certain medications may also cause your bones to weaken. Speak to your doctor if you have any concerns about your bone health while on your current prescriptions.

Most of all, remember to be good to your bones and they’ll keep your body protected for years to come.   

Lake Park is a diversified community with our residents coming from areas throughout the west coast. Our close-knit neighborhood is always active, but if you want to venture out, Downtown Oakland is chock full of culture and entertainment options. Get in touch with us to find out about the wonderful lifestyle you can enjoy at our full-service retirement community in Oakland.

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