Osteoporosis and osteopenia – two conditions associated with low bone density – are often thought of as only affecting older adults. The truth is that anyone can be affected, and even an ounce of prevention can go a long way.
Building strong bones starts during childhood. It’s never too early to take action to prevent bone loss. The prevention of osteoporosis begins with optimal bone growth and development during childhood and the teen years. Bones are living tissue, and the skeleton grows continually from birth to the end of the teenage years, reaching peak bone mass (maximum strength and size) in early adulthood.
After your mid-20s, bone thinning is a natural process and cannot be completely stopped. The thicker your bones are to begin with, the less likely they are to become thin enough to break. Young women, in particular, need to be aware of their osteoporosis risk and take steps to slow its progress and prevent fractures.
By implementing some healthy changes to your routine, you can help keep your bones healthy and decrease your loss of bone density:
Exercise regularly. Strength training, in particular, has been shown to help limit bone loss. Make it a point to be active throughout the week – just lifting some light weights can make a difference. Exercise should be individually tailored to your needs and capabilities. Overall, most people should aim to exercise for 30 to 40 minutes three to four times each week, with some weight-bearing and resistance exercises in the program. Studies have shown people with a sedentary lifestyle are more likely to have a hip fracture than those who are more active. For example, women who sit for more than nine hours a day are 50 percent more likely to have a hip fracture than those who sit for less than six hours a day, according to the International Osteoporosis Foundation.
Rework your diet. Increase your intake of vitamin D to promote bone health. Also, take it easy on the alcohol – too much can affect your bones’ ability to absorb calcium.
Take a look at your medications. Your prescriptions could be having a negative impact on your bone density. Read their labels for possible side effects and talk to your doctor about your concerns.
EMBRACE | July 2018