After the age of 50, bones begin to break down faster than they are formed. As a result, bones that were once very solid become more porous as time goes on.
The good news is that, even though we can’t stop the clock, we can defer and even prevent osteoporosis so you can continue to feel strong and participate in all the physical activities you enjoy. Here are a few tips to get you started:
TIP #1: LEARN THE BASICS OF OSTEOPOROSIS AND WHAT YOU CAN DO TO PREVENT IT
Awareness is the first step towards prevention when it comes to osteoporosis, which is when bones become brittle and fragile to loss of bone mass and/or not producing enough bone. When this happens, bones become more susceptible to injuries, such as fractures from falls.
This is especially important as you age since quality of life and health can vastly decline after a fracture. The Ontario Osteoporosis Strategy states that 28% of women and 37% of men who experience a hip fracture will die within one year. On top of this, one out of every three hip fracture patients will experience a re-fracture within a year and one in two hip fracture patients will experience another fracture within five years.
Reading this article is a great start when it comes to ensuring you don’t become part of the statistics because the truth is that you don’t have to. You can lead an active, healthy, and pain-free life well into your later years.
TIP #2: ASSESS AND ADJUST YOUR DIET
Getting adequate calcium and vitamin C is essential for maintaining and improving bone health.
Vitamin C stimulates the body to produce bone-forming cells and acts as a powerful antioxidant, protecting your bones from damage. Meanwhile, calcium is the main mineral found within the bones themselves.
Some great foods that include vitamin C and calcium include:
● Oranges or orange juice
● Dark leafy green veggies
● Soy milk
Something else to keep in mind here is to stick with a more alkaline diet over an acidic diet. Research indicates that acidic foods, such as chicken, coffee, alcohol, high-salt foods, and more, can cause more leaching of the bones. In turn, this can lead to greater bone loss and decreased bone density.
Some other nutrients that are critical for bone health include vitamin D, vitamin K, and protein. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, and vitamin K plays a vital role in supporting bone health. Bone is further made up of 50% protein, indicating the importance of the macronutrient.
Most individuals require 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. This is something to keep in mind when choosing foods, snacks, or meals.
TIP #3: EXERCISE FOR BETTER BONE HEALTH
Resistance training is correlated with increased bone density. While it’s best to start when you’re young, working out at any age can be extremely beneficial and research indicates that weighted workouts, including resistance training and walking with a weighted vest, can help improve bone density in older adults.
There is also evidence showing women who walked four or more hours a week had a 41% lower risk of hip fractures when compared to women who did no exercise. Further, women who exercised eight or more hours a week significantly reduced their risk of hip fracture. However, it’s extremely important to ensure you exercise safely and correctly. For older adults, it’s recommended to follow a guided and controlled exercise plan with slow progression and adequate rest in between workouts.
To improve bone density, your exercise program should focus on weight-bearing activities because the body reacts (in a positive way) to the stressors placed on it which triggers the creation of more bone tissue.
Working on balance and coordination is also key for preventing falls that can lead to bone fractures. If you choose to work with us to build your strength we will work on all of the above – safely and appropriately – to build your bone density and minimize your risk of falls.
TIP #4: CONSIDER SUPPLEMENTATION
Your diet is always the best way to obtain any nutrient, but it can be difficult to eat the right amount of food each day. This is where supplementation can come in.
However, caution is needed. For example, supplementing calcium isn’t suitable for certain health conditions, such as hypercalcemia. Before supplementing, it might be best to discuss your options with your doctor.
TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF NOW
Fractures from osteoporosis are more common than experiencing a stroke or a heart attack, and at least 1 in 5 men and 1 in 3 women will experience an osteoporotic fracture in their life. Yet, you don’t have to become part of these statistics.
Nielsen Fitness is a Collingwood and Toronto Personal Training firm located on Hurontario street. They specialize in working with older adults and have helped hundreds of clients prevent – and reverse the effects of – osteoporosis. Interested in giving them a try or think you might be? First workouts are completely free – click here to book yours!