Tips for Healthy Bones

As we age, our bones are affected by genetics, nutrition, exercise, and hormonal loss. We cannot change our genes, but we can control our nutrition and activity level and, if necessary, take osteoporosis medications. You are never too old or too young to improve your bone health.

Bone can get either stronger or weaker over time, depending on how we take care of it. Before age 25, especially around the time of puberty and early adulthood, we can make bigger, thicker bones through weight-bearing exercise and good nutrition. After age 25, weight-bearing exercise can help decrease bone loss and maintain bone mass and strength, but it cannot make bigger bones. Bone density in adults can be increased only 1 to 2 % in specific weight-bearing bones with regular exercise and can be lost once exercise is stopped. That is why it is so important to build maximum peak skeletal size and strength during growth. A bigger skeleton at the end of growth help protect against age-related bone loss.

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Tip 1: Genetics

Genetics plays a large role in bone health, and some people have genetically determined high rates of bone turnover after menopause or with aging.  Bone metabolism testing can provide additional information about your risk for fracture. It can also be used to ensure that you are responding to osteoporosis medications.

Tip 2: Be active every day

Strength-building and weight-bearing activities help build strong bones. Children should exercise at least one hour each day and adults should get 30 minutes of daily activity.

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Tip 3: Maintain a healthy weight

Older adults who are overweight have a higher risk for falling. Being underweight raises the risk of bone loss and fractures

Tip 4: Get enough
Calcium and Vitamin D

The health of our bones depends on steady stream of nutrients, most importantly calcium and Vitamin D.

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Tip 5: Do not Smoke

Smoking can reduce bone mass and increase your risk for a broken bone. Nicotine inhibits bone-forming cells.

Tip 6: Limit Acohol use

Heavy alcohol use reduces bone mass and increases your risk for falls and broken bones.

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Tip 7: Reduce your risk of falling

Exercise can help reduce your risk of falling. There also are many changes you can make in your home to help prevent a fall. Remove obstacles and add safety features — such as grab bars and non-slip mats — where needed. Learn more: Home Safety Checklist.