Osteoporosis actually means porous bones. The best defense against this generally preventable condition is building strong bones before the age of 30. Currently there are treatments but no cure for osteoporosis. These tips for a healthy lifestyle can help keep bones strong.
Eat a Healthy Balanced Diet Rich in Calcium and Vitamin D
The body stores 99 percent of its calcium supply in the bones and teeth. Bones continuously absorb and deposit calcium to form new bones. The formation of bone is greatest in young children. During early and middle adulthood, there is an equal balance in the process of continually absorbing calcium and forming new bone. In aging adults and postmenopausal women, bone breakdown exceeds bone formation. The result is bone loss and the increased risk for developing osteoporosis. Vitamin D is essential for the absorption of calcium in the gastrointestinal tract and for maintaining adequate calcium levels in the blood. Along with calcium, vitamin D helps prevent osteoporosis.
Eating a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D helps prevent bone loss. Good sources of calcium are low-fat yogurt, milk and cheese. These dairy products are a good source of vitamin D. Leafy green vegetables, such as spinach, kale and turnip greens join broccoli as sources of calcium. Salmon, tuna and mackerel are rich in vitamin D. Foods such as milk, cereals and certain brands of yogurt and orange juice are fortified with vitamin D.
A regular program of weight-bearing aerobic exercises, strength training and flexibility exercises can help stop further bone loss and help build bones at any age. For the bone-building effect, both muscles and bones must work against gravity. Before beginning an exercise program, check with your physician if you are at risk for osteoporosis related problems and what exercises may be right for you.
The staff of the Mayo Clinic offer suggestions for these three types of exercises. Weight-bearing activities involve exercising on your feet with your bones supporting your weight. Walking, dancing, low-impact aerobics, gardening and stair climbing are examples.