If you’re looking to enjoy an active, mobile and independent lifestyle in your retirement, one of the keys to this is strong bones and strong muscles!
Osteoporosis occurs when bones lose minerals such as calcium, and the body is not making in enough to replace it. This causes bones to become weak and fragile so that they break easily – even as a result of a minor fall, a bump, a sneeze, or a sudden movement. Osteoporosis is a problem worldwide. Statistics show that up to one in three women and one in five men aged 50 years or over will have an osteoporotic fracture. So what can you do to maintain healthy bones as an adult?
- Ensure your diet consists of bone-healthy nutrition, rich with calcium, protein, vitamin D and important micronutrients;
- Be active and engage in safe weight-bearing and muscle strengthening exercise; and
- Avoid smoking, excessive alcohol and caffeine consumption (sorry).
Grab a drink of water, a comfortable seat and read the below tips on how you can reduce your risk of osteoporosis. Consider sharing this post with family and friends who you think would benefit from knowing this.
Bone health nutrition – what does this mean?
Calcium is a major building block of our skeleton, with 99% of the 1 kg of calcium found in the average adult body residing in our bones. Bone acts as a reservoir for maintaining calcium levels in the blood, which is essential for healthy nerve and muscle function.
TIP: Eat calcium rich foods including milk, yoghurt (natural), cheese (hard), broccoli (raw), figs (dried), almonds, tofu (calcium set) every day.
Vitamin D plays two key roles in the development and maintenance of healthy bones. It assists calcium absorption from food in the intestine and ensures correct renewal and mineralisation of bone. Vitamin D is made in the skin when it is exposed to UV-B rays in sunlight. Due to our increasingly indoor lifestyles, low levels of vitamin D have become a worldwide problem as they can jeopardise bone and muscle health.
TIP: You should try to get 10–20 minutes of sun exposure to your bare skin (face, hands and arms) outside peak sunlight hours (before 10 AM and after 2 PM) daily.
Protein provides the body with a source of essential amino acids necessary for health. Low protein intake is detrimental both for the building of peak bone mass during childhood and adolescence (affecting skeletal growth) and for the preservation of bone mass with ageing.
TIP: Eat protein-rich foods include dairy products, meat, fish, poultry, lentils, beans and nuts every day.
Micronutrients are required in trace amounts for normal growth and development. Ongoing research suggests that these are important to bone health:
Vitamin K: Found in leafy green vegetables, spinach, cabbage and kale, liver, some fermented cheeses, and dried fruit
TIP: Snack on prunes, a high source of vitamin K
Magnesium: Found in green vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, unrefined grains, fish and dried fruit
TIP: 50 g of almonds = up to 40% of your daily need
Zinc: Found in lean red meat, poultry, whole grain cereals, pulses, legumes and dried fruit
TIP: Beans and chickpeas are good plant sources
Carotenoids: Found in many vegetables, including in leafy green vegetables, carrots and red capsicum
TIP: 50 g of raw carrots meet your daily need
Exercise + Lifestyle
‘Move it or lose it’ is exactly right. Periods of inactivity can result in increased lose of bone density. Which, yes, as you guessed, makes you more susceptible to osteoporotic fractures. With weight bearing exercises, you don’t need to go out and buy weights. By weight bearing we mean using your own body weight, and possibly small household items. Below are some simple exercises you can do in your own home, in the park or even while watching TV:
TIP: Go for a walk! Carry a small bottle of water in each hand for extra effort.
TIP: Do some bicep curls while watching TV; holding a can of baked beans (either sitting or standing) bend your elbow and bring the can up to your shoulder and back down slowly. Repeat 10 times on each arm. Rest and do it again if you can.
TIP: Stand on one leg while waiting for the kettle to boil; holding onto a kitchen bench or sturdy piece of furniture, stand one one foot for 30 seconds (if possible). Repeat on your other leg.
If you are interested in a strength and exercise program made just for you, or a tailored dietary program to help reduce the risks associated with osteoporosis, get in touch. We can arrange an assessment with a Mobile Rehab Accredited Exercise Physiologist or a Mobile Rehab Accredited Dietitian to meet with you in your own home.
Want more information about osteoporosis? Some of the above information and statistics are from World Osteoporosis Day resources, which are all available for download here.
You can also take a quick, online OSTEOPOROSIS RISK CHECK to see if you could be at risk of osteoporosis and fractures.