For many boomer women, osteoporosis becomes a fact of life. Concerns over risk of fracture, brittle bones and a general sense of weakness can really slow you down. But there is some good news: you can take steps to protect your bones no matter how old you are.
No surprise, the prescription is a basic one—eat a well balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin D, get regular exercise (weight bearing, cardiac and balance) and, when called for, take the right medication. Also, avoid potentially hazardous situations by fall-proofing your house as much as possible.
In addition to dairy products, dark green, leafy greens provide lots of calcium. Spinach, broccoli and others are rich in this important mineral. So are almonds and almond milk (a delicious and nutritious replacement for milk and cream) and fortified food such as tofu and certain cereals.
You’ve probably been hearing a lot about vitamin D as of late because doctors and nutritionists are touting it as a superstar of the vitamin world. As we age, our need for vitamin D increases. Along with several other functions, this vitamin allows our body to absorb the calcium we eat and drink.
Exercise will make both your bones and your muscles stronger and more resistant to falls and injury. It is also THE main way you can stave off aging, remain active and mobile and have the energy and stamina to truly enjoy your golden years. Weight-bearing exercises done three to four times a week are recommended for bone health. Walking, jogging, playing tennis, and dancing are examples of weight-bearing exercises. Strengthening and balance exercises, such as Tai Chi, may help you avoid falls and reduce your chance of breaking a bone.
For more information on keeping your bones strong, be sure to check out the recommendations you’ll find at NIHSeniorHealth.gov. They’ve got articles, videos quizzes and more.
And remember… no old bones for us boomers. Life can only be groovy when you’re feeling fit ‘n’ feisty!