Bones form the framework of our bodies. Healthy, strong bones are vital to our health and well-being, especially as we age. It’s especially important for women to think about bone health. In fact, one in three women over the age of 50 will experience an osteoporotic fracture during the course of their lives1. While osteoporosis is present within all demographics, women who are
- post-menopausal, and
- of Caucasian and Asian descent
are more susceptible to developing the condition. So here are a few things you can do to help reduce your risk of osteoporosis and increase your bone health.
1- Stop smoking
Although there are lots of risk factors for developing osteoporosis, smoking is a major one. It is one of the few risk factors that you can actually control. Smoking causes bones to become brittle, porous and gives them a lower density. For women that are pre-disposed to developing osteoporosis, stopping smoking is especially critical. It is likely the single most important thing you can do for your overall health.
2- Daily physical activity
The risk of osteoporosis can often by reduced or eliminated by following a healthy lifestyle which includes daily physical activity.
Daily physical activity like
- swimming, or
- weight bearing exercises
are vital to bone health. Research has shown that bone mineral density can be improved with just 20 minutes of modest
- impact activity,
- resistance training, or
- vibration therapy
three times a week1. Exercise also has the benefit of decreasing the risk of falls by improving muscle tone, balance, and coordination1.
3- Make sure you’re getting your essential nutrients
One of the primary determinants of bone health is nutrition. Many of the nutritional needs for bone health can be met with proper food choices. However, experts recommend that supplements be taken to get adequate nutrients like
- vitamin D,
- silicon, and
Supplements, especially for women, are a great way of making sure that you’re getting your daily recommended intake of vitamins and minerals to help keep your bones strong and healthy.
4- Avoid heavy alcohol consumption
Heavy drinking is a health risk for many reasons. Most people don’t realize the important role that it also plays in bone health. Calcium is an essential nutrient for healthy bones, and alcohol leaches it away. When you consume too much alcohol, it stops the stomach from absorbing calcium. This affects the liver, which plays a crucial role in activating vitamin D2. For this reason, try to stop alcohol consumption or consume it in moderation.
When it comes to osteoporosis and general bone health, being underweight is just as unhealthy as being overweight. People who try to maintain a very low weight (BMI less than 18.5) are at higher risk of osteoporosis3. On the other hand, being overweight is usually associated with an excess amount of strain on the bones and joints. Thus, it’s advisable to try to maintain a steady healthy weight.
Worldwide, osteoporosis causes more than 8.9 million fractures each year, resulting in an
osteoporotic fracture every three seconds2. So keep these tips in mind to maintain a healthy bone weight and reduce the risk of bone disease.
2) WebMD. Drink less for strong bones. By Jeanie Lerche Davis. http://www.webmd.com/osteoporosis/features/alcohol#1.
3) WebMD. Osteoporosis and Diets. Does Weight Loss Put You at Risk? By Gina Shaw. http://www.webmd.com/osteoporosis/features/diet-weight-loss#1.