Research shows that exercise can help to prevent osteoporosis and it doesn’t matter how old you are it’s never too late to start. Also making sure you are getting enough sunshine and plenty of Vitamin D rich foods will help. We’ve put together some tips on how to keep your bones healthy and strong.
Where to start?
We have been having a lot of fun with our online 10 am Facebook live sessions. There are days when we ask everyone to bring in household objects such as cushions, rolling pins and rolled up socks. We also use tins of food as weights to add some resistance to our exercises. This week we are teaching our followers some simple weight bearing exercises that can be done at home without having to go to the gym. For example, just balancing on one leg requires strength throughout the ankle and knee. Muscle strengthening exercises are really important. If you have strong muscles it means you are likely to have better support for your joints. This helps to increase tone, and improve balance which may help prevent a fall.
What are the best exercises to do?
The two types of osteoporosis exercises that are important for building and maintaining bone density are weight-bearing & muscle strengthening exercises. The exercise you wanting to be partaking in is the type that puts some strain or stress on bones. Such “weight-bearing” exercises include walking, dancing, and jogging. Using resistance bands and weights, stair-climbing and walking can all help build strength. Swimming unfortunately doesn’t count as the water supports your weight. Approximately 1 in 3 women and 1 in 12 men have osteoporosis and it doesn’t always come about with old age so we need to be sure we are doing everything we can to prevent it.
A healthy diet could help prevent osteoporosis
Poor nutrition can be one of the causes of osteoporosis. Eating foods that are rich in calcium and vitamin D is really important. The types of food you should be eating to ensure you are getting plenty of vitamin D are oily fish such as salmon, sardines, pilchards, trout, herring, and kippers. All of these contain reasonable amounts of vitamin D. Other types of foods are eggs, fortified orange juice, mushrooms (that are grown outside). Cod liver oil is a supplement that can be purchased at every health food shop. It is a great option for those who don’t like fish but still want an easy way to add vitamin D to their diet.
Vitamin D is also made by the body when skin is exposed to sunlight. This is why it’s called the sunshine vitamin. It accounts for approximately 90% of our total vitamin D, with only 10% coming from food. Depending on where you live, 20 minutes of sun exposure a day is enough to meet your vitamin D requirements.
Women are at the greatest risk of osteoporosis following the menopause because they lose the protective benefits that come from the hormone, oestrogen. Oestrogen is responsible for facilitating the uptake and retention of calcium in bone. Hence the accelerated decline in bone mass following the menopause. At the end of the day, the more active you are the better chance you have of maintaining your bone health, mobility and independence, which in turn is better for your health, self-esteem and self-confidence. If you are looking for more support go to the Royal Osteoporosis Society’s website