Aging can bring about some wonderful moments, but it can also force us to confront a number of health-related issues. One of these issues is the health of our bones, which tend to get weaker and more brittle as we age. Additionally, our bones also become less dense and more likely to fracture. Weakening bones are a common problem for older Americans; it is estimated that 1 out of 5 American women over 50 have osteoporosis, a condition in which the patient’s bones are especially vulnerable to injury. This disease is also a significant threat to men over the age of 70.
As with any other part of the body, you can preserve and restore the health of your bones through proper diet and exercise. If you’re concerned about the condition of your bones, here is some advice that may prove to be useful:
Consume Lots of Calcium – To say that your bones like calcium would be an understatement; an astounding 99 percent of your body’s calcium is stored in your bone tissue. A proper amount of calcium keeps your bones and teeth strong, preventing them form gradually withering away over time. Calcium is found in a number of healthy foods, such as low-fat milk, soy milk, cottage cheese, canned salmon and cooked broccoli. There are also brands of orange juice that have been fortified with calcium.
Emphasize Vitamin D – Like calcium, a diet high in vitamin D is essential to good bone health. Vitamin D enables your bones to absorb sorely-needed calcium. Vitamin D is a bit different than other vitamins, in that you can get a large chunk of your recommended daily amount through exposure to sunlight. Vitamin D is also found in fortified milk, eggs, fish and cod liver oil.
Ease off the Alcohol – A drink once in a while should be fine, but drinking alcohol on a consistent basis can have negative side effects for your bones. Drinking an excessive amount of alcohol can cause a 2% yearly reduction in bone size.
Kick Your Smoking Habit – We all know that smoking can have significant consequences for your lungs, throat and respiratory system, but it can also affect the health of your bones. A consistent smoking habit can cause you to lose 2% percent bone density per year. Combined with alcohol, the rate of bone deterioration can reach up to 8% per year.
Carry Your Weight – You can strengthen your bones through weight-bearing activities, exercises that are performed in a standing position. These exercises force your bones to work against gravity, thereby building up strength. Examples of weight-bearing activities include walking, jogging, aerobics, climbing stairs and tennis.