Many women don’t know how to prevent osteoporosis or even understand their risk for developing osteoporosis later in life. It’s often thought of as an unavoidable health problem associated with aging, a “cross that bridge when you get to it” kind of problem. But the truth is, osteoporosis is not inevitable but if you’re not taking steps to prevent bone density loss now, you could be putting yourself at a much greater risk for experiencing the condition as you age.
While many of the early signs of osteoporosis often go unnoticed, this condition can develop over many years, worsening as your bones become weaker and less dense over time. In order to prevent osteoporosis and the snowball effect of worsening bone health, employ these four crucial healthy living strategies to help keep your bones strong for years to come.
1. Establish Healthy Eating Habits
Establishing healthy eating habits is hands-down one of the best ways to improve your overall health and help your body restore, repair, and protect itself. When it comes to your bone health, eating a diet rich in calcium and healthy fats can help to strengthen your bones and prevent unnecessary fractures or density loss. Dark, leafy greens, cheese, yogurt, fatty fish like sardines, and fortified milk and cereals are excellent sources of calcium.
It’s also important to note that in order for your body to efficiently absorb the calcium that you’re putting into it, you may also need to add a vitamin D supplement to your diet. Although it is possible to absorb vitamin D from the sun, this may pose health risks, such as skin cancer, that likely outweigh the benefits. Not to mention, those of us in Northern hemispheres have a much shorter window to get our sunlight! Your best bet is to find a high-quality supplement to add to your daily routine to reap the bone-building benefits of calcium and vitamin D without putting your skin at risk (Harvard Health Publications).
Other key ingredients that can help you to prevent osteoporosis are vitamins A, K, and C, phosphorus, and magnesium. Each one plays an important role in bone health and growth. Luckily, they can all be found in many fruits and vegetables! Don’t be afraid to go plant-based! Your body (and taste buds) certainly won’t regret it.
2. Exercise, Exercise, Exercise
The bone health benefits of exercise are often underestimated, and many people even feel that exercising may damage their bones. This, however, is one of the common myths about aging and mobility. In fact, the best exercises to strengthen your bones and lower your risk of developing osteoporosis are weight-bearing exercises like weight lifting, resistance training, and climbing stairs. These exercises force your bones to adapt to the impact of the weight you’re putting on them, thus strengthening them along with the supporting muscle tissue (American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons).
You can start out with low impact exercises like cycling and walking or remove the jumps from popular bodyweight exercises. You’ll look younger, and more importantly, you’ll feel younger knowing that mobility is still yours to enjoy. Who knew you could help prevent osteoarthritis just by taking a lap around the block?!
3. Trash the Crash Diets
While it can be tempting to embark on fad diet after fad diet that claims to leave you pounds lighter in a short amount of time, this kind of crash dieting is terrible for your bones, not to mention your overall health. This is especially important in adolescence and young adulthood, as this type of dieting can deprive your body of the essential nutrients that it needs to grow and maintain strong, healthy bones.
The fact of the matter is that if you want to lose weight the healthy way, it’s not going to happen overnight, and that’s okay. By adopting a regular exercise routine and eating a nutritious, balanced diet, you can much more effectively achieve your weight loss and fitness goals on a long-term scale. These are the real results you want and need, rather than merely losing a few quick pounds that are likely to come back later.
4. Stop Smoking
As if you needed yet another reason to stop smoking (or not to start), studies have shown a direct connection between tobacco use and bone density loss, thus putting smokers at a greater risk for developing osteoporosis than non-smokers (National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases). Not only is kicking the habit great for your overall health, but it could help to prevent osteoporosis from becoming a medical concern in the future. I can’t say it enough, stop smoking!
The Bottom Line
Although osteoporosis is a common health concern for many women, the good news is that there are a number of preventive measures you can take at any stage of life to reduce your risk. Taking an active role in your health can have a profound impact on your quality of life and well-being.
To learn more about the many ways in which you can step up and take control of your health, consider joining the Women’s Health Conversations Facebook group! Here, you’ll learn about our upcoming conferences to educate, empower, and entertain women from all walks of life about all things women’s health-related. We always have a conversation going about simple changes you can make now to regain your vitality and own your health at any age.
If you want to empower yourself, be part of a community of smart, savvy women, and make the rest of your life the BEST of your life, join our /Ajles/ Community. This membership-only site for 40-60+ women offers you:
- FREE access to ALL of our monthly mini-summits
- Discounts to quarterly celebrity guests speakers
- Connections to a vibrant community of ageless women
- Monthly community meet & greets
- SO MUCH MORE!
Get more information here. Join today!