Your skeleton contains two types of bone tissue: cortical and trabecular (or cancellous). Cortical bone forms the outer layer of your bones, and it’s tough and sturdy. The trabecular bone, or cancellous bone, makes up the inner part of your bones and helps give them strength and flexibility. As you age, the trabecular bone tends to break down more quickly than cortical bone. But you can take steps to help strengthen this vital type of bone in your body and keep it strong as you get older. This guide offers tips on keeping bones strong as you get older, starting from now and going through old age!
Getting active is a great way to promote bone health because it helps your bones support themselves. The best exercises for strong bones are weight-bearing activities, including walking, hiking, or running. However, it’s important not to overdo it in terms of intensity and frequency because if you strain yourself too much, you could harm your bone health. Start slowly with mild to moderate activity and work up from there as your body adjusts. If you haven’t been exercising regularly or at all, consult with your doctor before starting any new routine
Eat Healthy Foods
Not only does a high-sodium diet put stress on your kidneys, but it can also cause a spike in calcium excretion. Also, caffeinated beverages may contribute to bone loss because of their diuretic effect. Instead, drink plenty of water and unsweetened tea or coffee. Talk to your doctor about whether you should add a vitamin D supplement to your daily routine too. Vitamin D plays an essential role in bone formation and calcium absorption from food.
Eat a Balanced Diet
Maintaining healthy bones requires getting enough calcium and vitamin D. Other nutrients also play an essential role in bone health, including protein, magnesium, boron, phosphorus, and zinc. Eat a balanced diet that includes these nutrients critical to get the building blocks you need for strong bones.
Get a Bone Density Scan
Bone density scans use X-rays to determine the density of a person’s bones. Getting tested is particularly important if you have a family history of osteoporosis, are over 65 years old, or are at high risk for osteoporosis. If you have low bone density, your doctor can prescribe treatments such as drugs and dietary supplements (such as calcium and vitamin D) to prevent or reverse the loss of bone density and prevent fractures. To determine if your bone density is healthy, ask for a dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scan; it’s painless and noninvasive and takes about 20 minutes in most cases.
Calcium helps keep your bones strong, but it can be tough to get enough in your diet. Supplements and fortified foods can help you reach daily requirements. Many people—particularly those who don’t spend much time in natural sunlight—can benefit from vitamin D supplements. Also, look for calcium-fortified food and drinks. A high-quality multivitamin can help ensure your body is getting all of its necessary vitamins and minerals.