Osteoporosis is a common condition especially for men and women aged 50 and above. Here are some quick tips to reduce the risk and to help take better care of your bones.
1. Diet and Vitamins
To ensure that our body can counteract osteoporosis, medications for osteoporosis are often accompanied by calcium and vitamin D supplements:
Adequate calcium intake is essential in restoring bone health, as calcium is a major building block of bone. Choose calcium-rich foods and if dairy products upset our stomach, try other calcium-rich foods such as fish with soft bones like sardines or tofu. To maximize calcium absorption, avoid eating too much protein or salt, as large quantities of these are related to a loss of calcium.
Vitamin D is the key to unlocking the benefits of calcium; it helps the body absorb calcium. The best way to obtain sufficient vitamin D is 30 minutes of outdoor sunshine a day. Nonetheless, a recent study conducted in 18 countries worldwide found vitamin D inadequacy to be widespread among postmenopausal women with osteoporosis, even in countries where there is ample sunlight.
Even if we have a calcium-enriched diet, our body cannot absorb the calcium consumed unless you have enough vitamin D. Inadequate vitamin D in the body contributes to bone loss and hinders efforts to combat osteoporosis.
We should aim to exercise at moderate intensity, at least 5 times a week, for 30 minutes each time, and always with warm-up and cool-down exercises. Include a variety of activities to keep all parts of the body exercised, and discuss with your doctor an exercise program that is suitable for you. It may include:
- Resistance exercises such as light weight-training, which may help maintain bone health by strengthening the muscles around them.
- Weight-bearing exercises including brisk walking, stair climbing, dancing, or those that require your bones and muscles to work gently against gravity.
- Non-weight-bearing exercises such as tai chi, swimming or other water exercises, which may help prevent back strain and pain by building your trunk and leg muscles.
3. Lifestyle Modifications
Lifestyle modifications can be crucial to successfully treating and preventing osteoporosis, this may include:
- Stop smoking; smoking may increase your chance of getting osteoporosis, and many other diseases
- Reduce your alcohol intake; heavy alcohol intake is associated with a higher risk of osteoporosis, and injuries that can cause fractures.