3 Tips for Osteoporosis Prevention

What Is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a bone growth disease. It causes either too much or too little bone growth, which in turn makes bones brittle. Extreme cases can mean that actions like bumping into a table or sneezing can cause bone fractures. Bones are naturally porous, but osteoporosis increases the porous structures in bones—this makes them easy to break.

Osteoporosis affects over 10 million people in the United States today. It’s a common ailment of aging and elderly populations, and it often causes numerous health complications in conjunction with other issues, like poor balance or posture. It also raises health costs—one study found that osteoporosis patients spend an additional $10,000 on care for the 6 months following a fracture.

However, while there is no cure, there are simple and easy ways to prevent osteoporosis, or perhaps even ease its effects if you already have been diagnosed. Here are 3 easy ways to prevent osteoporosis from weakening your bones.

#1: Train with Weights

Exercise or moderate movement of any kind is good for your body, particularly your skeleton. Weight training in particular is an effective way to strengthen your skeleton. Using weights causes your muscles to pull on your bones. This stimulates bone growth cells, increasing both density and flexibility.

Flexible bones are as important as dense ones—a little bit of flex keeps bones from breaking. Dynamic movements are best for this. Compound lifts such as lunges and squats, or simply moving while wearing a weighted vest, creates strong bones that will remain healthy and unbroken in the long run.

#2: Get Vitamin D Regularly

Many people know that skeletons are made of calcium, so we know to drink plenty of milk and eat vegetables in order to get it. However, what many do not realize is that calcium requires vitamin D in order to be absorbed into the bloodstream. For that reason, ingesting a little vitamin D with every calcium boost can increase its effectiveness.

While milk and fortified juice contain vitamin D, you can also get it from about 10 minutes of sunlight. You don’t need very much—physicians recommend only about 25 micrograms of it per day to be effective.

#3: Take Up Tai Chi (or Yoga)

Exercise like tai chi or yoga increase strength, flexibility, and balance. These are all crucial to preventing or treating osteoporosis. They involve little to no impact, so it remains gentle on your body while providing it with a host of benefits. Balance is particularly crucial—falls are the leading cause of bone fractures in older populations, especially for those with osteoporosis. As your muscles increasingly pull and stretch your bones, they will adapt to accommodate your activity level.

The key to preventing osteoporosis is ultimately knowledge. Ask your doctor about getting a bone density test. When you know you’re at risk, you can more effectively take steps to ensure you live a strong, vital life without fear of bone weakness.

This article contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. The information is not advice and should not be treated as such. The information is not intended to replace the advice or diagnosis of a physician.

If you have any specific questions about any medical matter you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.