Did you know? Over 200 million people worldwide suffer from osteoporosis, a disease which makes the bones brittle, fragile, and prone to break. Thirty percent of all postmenopausal women have osteoporosis, and one-in-six white women will break a hip in their lifetime as a result.
When it comes to osteoporosis, there’s no reason to become a statistic. There are ways to strengthen older bones. And most of these measures will also increase overall health and improve longevity. Follow these tips to take care of your own bones and encourage your aging loved one to do the same.
6 Ways to Boost Bone Health
Just 30 minutes of exercise each day can help strengthen bones and prevent osteoporosis.
Weight-bearing exercises, such as yoga, tai chi, and even walking, help the body resist gravity and stimulate bone cells to grow. Strength-training builds muscles which also increases bone strength.
2. Eat a balanced diet
Dairy products, fish, and leafy green vegetables are all rich in calcium and Vitamin D, which has been shown to strengthen bones.
In addition, there may be a link between Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and flaxseed and bone health. Blueberries might also strengthen bones.
Aim for five servings of fruits and vegetables, and at least three servings of low-fat or non-fat dairy products, including milk, cheese, and yogurt, per day.
3. Take supplements
It’s challenging to get all the nutrients your body needs from the food you eat—especially if your appetite isn’t what it used to be. Calcium, Vitamin D, and Omega-3 supplements have all been shown to improve bone strength.
Just be sure to check with your doctor to determine if any supplements you take might negatively impact the prescription medications you may be on.
4. Make sure your body absorbs the calcium and vitamin D it needs
Sunlight helps the body absorb vitamin D from the foods you eat. Experts recommend five to 10 minutes of sun exposure (without sunscreen) on the hands, arms, and face, two to three times a week, to help the body process the necessary vitamin D for bone health.
5. Avoid salty foods and caffeinated beverages
Foods that are high in salt or overly processed have been shown to prevent the body from absorbing calcium. Highly caffeinated beverages may do the same.
Limit intake of these foods for better bone health—and better overall health, too!
6. Get a bone density scan
While this simple diagnostic procedure won’t strengthen your bones, it can let you know if you’re doing enough for better bone health.
It’s recommended that all women over the age of 65 and men over 70 have a bone density scan.
The Five Star Difference — Healthy, active living
It can be hard to find the motivation to regularly exercise and eat healthy, especially as an older adult. That’s why Five Star Senior Living offers a wide variety of engaging activities and nutritious meals that make it easy for residents to get moving, eat well and build up bone strength so they can maintain their independence. To learn more about how Five Star promotes a healthy, active and enriching lifestyle for residents, call one of our senior living experts at (757) 797-6866 or find a Five Star community near you.