Osteoporosis is definitely a hot topic in the world of aging. But is it a normal part of getting older? According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, 54 million Americans have osteoporosis and low bone mass. 54 million!! Statistically, half of all women age 50 and older will break a bone due to osteoporosis.
Wow! I don’t like those odds. But the good news is there are things you can do now, today, even this minute to lower your risk for brittle bones.
Step One: Know the Full Story
Most people know that osteoporosis affects the bone. We’ve all seen the supplement commercials, right? With those aging Hollywood actresses pushing the latest and the greatest cure for this. They make it sound like everyone will get osteoporosis. Not the case. Osteoporosis literally means “porous bone” - aka large holes in your bones. The holes make the bones weak, keeping you from doing the things you love.
Lots of factors play a role in how those holes form. Genetics can have its part and yes, some bone loss as we age is normal (bone cells are just not created as fast as they used to be), but lifestyle factors can keep those cells healthy and keep those holes at bay.
Step Two: Get off the Couch...Now!
I’m always amazed at how many chronic disease, many wrongly accepted as normal parts of aging, can be slowed or even prevented by just heading up the gym. You know the saying, “if you don’t use it, you lose it.” The same goes for bones. If your body recognized that you need your bones for daily activities, it will send more resources to ensure those bones are healthy. More resources = more bone cells. Amazing stuff! Even gentle walks and daily stretches can make a huge difference for your bones. One study even suggests hopping can be beneficial!
Step Three: Bone Fuel
If you want your body to look, feel, be a certain way, you have to give it the right fuel. Each part of our body uses specific nutrients (vitamins and minerals) to perform optimally. Bones need a mineral called calcium and a vitamin called “D.” Vitamin D is the easy one - all you need is some sunshine! There are definitely supplements out there, but what better way to treat your bones right than enjoying the sun for 30 minutes a day!? A good source of calcium is dairy products. If dairy isn't your thing, try dark green veggies - also great resources. Check out this website for other non-dairy foods that contain good sources of calcium.
Bone loss doesn't have to be a part of getting older. A few simple steps can keep them working with you, not against you for years to come.