5 Tips for Building Stronger Bones, At Any Age

Did you know that one in two women over the age of 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis? While remarkably common, osteoporosis is not an inevitable part of aging. There is much you can do to prevent the disease, at any age.

We tend to think of our bones as hard, lifeless structures. But in fact, they are made up of living tissues that are constantly evolving. So, it’s never too late to make a change. Here are five things you can do to improve your bone health and reduce your risk of fractures.

older women lifting weights

Got milk?

“One of the easiest ways to boost your bone density is eating the right foods,” explains Women’s Center dietitian Sonal Hill. “We all know calcium is key for healthy bones, and milk is an obvious choice for many. But not everyone likes—or can stomach—dairy products. Fortunately, there are lots of other options for boosting your bone health. From dark leafy greens to nuts and seeds, there are many tasty ways you can build strong bones with the right diet.”

Pump some iron

“Strong bones go hand in hand with strong muscles,” says Women’s Center nurse practitioner Ann Stone. “Bones are living tissues that respond to exercise just as your muscles do. And with exercise comes better balance and improved coordination, both of which help prevent falls and fractures. The best types of exercise for bone health are those that are weight bearing, such as weight training, walking, hiking and jogging.”

Know your meds

If you take medicine for asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, depression or GERD, you could be at greater risk for osteoporosis. Certain drugs can affect the way your body absorbs calcium or rebuilds bone. Dr. Abid Yaqub, bone health specialist at the Women’s Center, says “It’s extremely important for patients to talk with their doctor about medications so they can help find the right balance for treating a specific condition while maintaining bone health.”

Kick the habit

“Smoking and alcohol abuse are both significant risk factors for osteoporosis,” explains Women’s Center psychiatrist Dr. Jyoti Sachdeva. “Research has shown that women who smoke absorb less calcium. And heavy drinking has also been shown to interfere with the stomach’s ability to absorb calcium, and to hinder bone formation. It can be extremely difficult to kick an addiction and it may require some professional help, but doing so gives you countless benefits, having stronger bones is just one of them.”

 Know your risks

“Sometimes a little knowledge can be your best defense,” says Women’s Center internist Dr. Dain Wahl. “Being female and over age 50 aren’t the only uncontrollable factors putting you at increased risk for fractures. Things like frame size, family history, and race can also play a role. Everyone can benefit from building stronger bones, but for some people it’s imperative. That’s why it’s important that you know your risks and discuss them with your doctor so you can take the right steps to keep your bones healthy.”

Broken bones are painful at any age, but for older people they can be deadly. So talk to your doctor about bone health. Or contact one of our bone health specialists. We can help you evaluate your risks, conduct tests, if necessary, and recommend ways to make your bones stronger and help you live longer.

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