If you are part of the baby boomer era, you may be starting to think about your bone health and your risk for osteoporosis. What if I told you that our peak bone density occurs in our late 20’s. We begin to lose bone density after age 30. Moderate bone loss is perfectly normal as we age, especially in women after menopause. Although females have a greater risk of osteoporosis, men are also susceptible. Most signs and symptoms of Osteoporosis can remain silent until a fracture occurs. Fractures frequently occur in one’s spine, wrist, and hips, resulting in chronic pain and independence loss. Your genetics play a role in your overall bone health. However, your lifestyle choices also impact your bone health. The question is, can you reverse your osteoporosis and improve your bone health? The answer is YES! Even with a current diagnosis of osteoporosis, you can make healthy lifestyle choices that positively impact your bone health.
You can start by eating a well-rounded nutritious diet. It is a common misconception that dairy is your only source of calcium. Calcium can be found in multiple veggies like leafy greens, broccoli, and sweet potatoes. Soybeans are naturally rich in calcium and an excellent choice to increase your daily intake. Dairy is highly inflammatory and is not easily digested by most people. Eating a diet high in yogurt and milk can have adverse effects on your overall health. It is essential to get your calcium through your diet, and not primarily through supplements. Our body needs additional vitamins and minerals to transport and absorb the calcium properly. Your body uses all of the vitamins and minerals found in veggies to work together to transport, absorb, and build stronger healthier bones.
Soak up Vitamin D
Vitamin D plays a central role in absorbing calcium. The best way to get Vitamin D is through the sun. There are risk factors involved in being in the sun, so moderation is the key. You only need 10 minutes of skin exposure to get your daily recommended Vit D. Sunblock will block the absorption. Be cautious if you have a history of skin cancer or are on medications that recommend against sun exposure. Please consult your doctor. Depending on where you live, it may be impossible to get the appropriate amount of Vitamin D, and supplementation may be necessary. There is a blood test that can measure your levels. Please talk with your doctor about testing and supplementations.
It is essential to limit your caffeine intake, alcohol consumption, and avoid smoking altogether. In excess, these things will increase the release of calcium in your urine. Drinking alcohol or caffeine in moderation can be beneficial to your health, just limit it to one or two glasses a day.
Studies show regular weight-bearing exercise can increase both bone strength and bone density. The push and pull of the muscle on the bone can improve your bone tissue's overall density. Weight-bearing exercise is considered any activity that puts force on your bones, such as walking and hiking, bodyweight exercises like yoga or Pilates, or any exercise using weight. These include resistance bands, free weights, or nautilus machines. While very good for your overall health, biking and swimming don't seem to have an improved impact on improving bone density. Be sure you incorporate land-based exercises into your workout regimen. It is important to build a well-balanced exercise program to decrease your fracture risk. Your workouts should include:
Exercises to strengthen the core
Weight-bearing exercise to strengthen bones
Exercises to challenge your balance
Posture improving exercise
If exercise is not already a part of your lifestyle, seek help from a professional. There are multiple risk factors when exercising with the Osteoporosis diagnosis. It is essential to work with a professional that understands the risks involved in exercising.
Wellness 360 offers an online exercise program. Our Wellness Plus Online Subscription is an affordable way to exercise in the convenience of your own home with minimal equipment. Each class is designed and led by Physical Therapists. The Osteoporosis wellness program provides you with safe and evidence-based exercises to improve your posture, balance, and bone strength. While there is no cure for Osteoporosis, it is a very treatable condition. Only you have the power to make positive lifestyle choices to reverse or prevent your bone loss.