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Bone health may decline with age, but it's not too late to make conscious efforts to slow or even reverse that effect. It is important to understand that, as we age, we can take preventative measures to protect our health. Even if you have experienced significant loss in bone density, actions can still be taken to protect further damage. In detail, the questions you should be asking are:
- What can I do to keep my bones healthy?
- What changes need to be made?
8 Ways to Protect and Improve Bone Health
As you might have expected, exercise is one of the best things you can do to encourage healthy bones. Any physical activity that gets your heart rate up, whether a brisk walk, riding a bike, or doing daily chores outdoors, is beneficial. There is no wrong way to get exercise, as long as you do so safely. This doesn't need to be a gigantic and intimidating task. There is no need to run a marathon - simply ensure you are active and exercising every day, and your bones will thank you.
2. Check Your Diet and Nutrition
Do not underestimate the power of healthy eating to protect bones. To build and protect bone strength, it is crucial to receive enough calcium, protein, potassium, and magnesium in your diet, among other vitamins and nutrients. Recommended foods to work into your diet include milk, sardines, cheese, eggs, spinach, and orange juice. These seemingly minor changes can make a significant impact on your health over time.
3. Be Aware of the Effects of Medications
Medications often used at higher doses could be causing issues with bone density, including medications for fibromyalgia, thyroid disorders, and depression. Women lose up to 20% of their bone density after menopause, and as indicated in studies, medications may have advanced that bone density loss.
On the other hand, medications have also been developed to enhance bone strength. For both men and women, Corticosteroid medications, for example, can have a significant effect on bone density. Remember to consult your doctor to better understand the effects of medications you are taking or may want to take.
4. Know Your Body and Treat it Well
For adults that are 50 years and older, it is highly encouraged to maintain an active lifestyle. It's all about setting up habits that can add extra strength and flexibility to your body, like doing yoga and similar low-intensity and low-impact activities. Doing things that relax the body are important as well. Therapies such as receiving a massage, meditating, or taking a hot bath or a shower will help. Getting the required amount of sleep is also vital for the regulation of functions in the body. Nothing is better than giving the body the proper rest that it needs.
5. Talk To Your Doctor
Talking to your doctor about changes you want to make in medication dosage or various other decisions is an essential part of your decision-making process. Talk to your doctor about your progress and the positive changes that you may have made (or are considering), as well as the setbacks. Do not underestimate your doctor as a resource for guidance.
6. Get Tests For Bone Density
If you are concerned about your bone health, it could be necessary to perform a bone density test. This is an important step in the process of determining if you have osteoporosis, which can lead to other related issues, such as osteoarthritis. The machine used measures and estimates the bone density in specific parts of the bone structure. Anyone who has broken bones before should get a bone density test. Your doctor can then help you determine the next steps necessary.
7. Avoid Drug and Substance Abuse
Unhealthy habits such as excessive alcohol and the abuse of prescription drugs can have detrimental effects on many aspects of health, including bone strength. These habits can do severe damage to the body, and no one is immune to that damage. However, recovery is generally possible because of the body's remarkable ability to heal itself. Your body is your temple, and you should want to treat it as such.
8. Be Prevention-Minded
The mindset of prevention comes down to making necessary sacrifices in life for your health. Your health should be a priority, and doing as much as you can from this list, even small changes will make significant differences. Even simple things like having a health journal to record your habits will keep you accountable and committed to staying on track. It will also make it easier to share updates and records with your doctor.
Try to practice as many of these tips as you can in your daily life, and give yourself the best chance at keeping your bones strong and healthy. It is worth repeating, the best thing you can do is to speak with your doctor if you are concerned about your bone health. Do not make major changes to your diet or exercise without consulting a professional first.