Building Better Bones
- Written by Kateri Kane Kateri Kane
- Published: 04 September 2013 04 September 2013
So how can you save your bones from osteoporosis or a fracture as a result of osteoporosis? One important thing to note is that what you do in your youth can significantly affect the future. The more bone that is built up by your 20’s, the more of a bone “bank” you have in your body as you begin to naturally lose bone with age. Consuming calcium and vitamin D will assist in building more dense bone in childhood and with maintaining strength in your bones as you age. Dairy products including low-fat and non-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese are high in calcium. Vitamin D, on the other hand, is only found in fatty fish like wild-caught mackerel, salmon, and tuna; but it can also be generated through the skin from sunlight. Supplements can be taken for both calcium and vitamin D if you do not consume enough of them in your regular diet.
In addition to diet, exercise is an essential part of bone health. The forms of exercises to focus on include weight bearing, muscle strengthening, and non-impact exercises. Weight bearing exercises help by loading the bones which promotes an increase in bone density. If you have osteoporosis, the focus should be placed on low impact exercises including walking, elliptical training, low impact aerobics, etc. For those who do not have osteoporosis but wish to increase bone density, more intense weight bearing exercises can be performed including jogging/running, dancing, high-impact aerobics, jumping rope, playing tennis, etc. Muscle strengthening exercises are also important for strengthening bones. These exercises may include weight lifting, resistance band training, weight machines, lifting body weight, etc. If you have osteoporosis, you must be more careful which resistance exercises you perform due to the increased risk of fracture depending on your position while lifting weight. Non-impact are the final set of exercises that are important for osteoporosis included balance and postural training. Poor balance puts you at an increased risk for falling thus increasing risk for fracture. Poor posture can increase the load on the vertebrae in your spine, causing compression fractures.
If you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis, it is important to talk to your physical therapist about what exercises are most appropriate for you in order to decrease your risk of fracture. We hope this information helps assist you in maintaining healthier bones. If you have any questions on this topic or any others in which you are interested, feel free to leave any questions, comments, or suggestions.Thank you for reading and stay active.