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10 Ways to Keep Your Bones Healthy as You Age

10 Ways to Keep Your Bones Healthy as You Age

It's true that as you become older, you lose bone, but aging doesn’t have to mean developing brittle bones. The body continues building bone mass until around age 30, and then bone begins to break down faster. However, there are steps you can take to protect your bone health. 

The team at Rheumatology and Allergy Institute of Connecticut treats a full range of rheumatic, allergic, and connective tissue disease. Because May is Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month, we’re taking the opportunity to talk about bone health. 

Osteoporosis affects millions of adults in the United States, especially those age 50 and older. The good news is that with the right lifestyle choices and proactive measures, you can maintain bone health and strength, even into your golden years. 

Here are 10 ways to ensure your bones stay healthy and robust as you age.

1. Eat plenty of calcium

Calcium is the cornerstone of bone health. Dairy foods like milk, cheese, and yogurt are excellent sources of calcium. Leafy green vegetables and fortified foods are other sources.

2. Vitamin D for absorption

Vitamin D plays a crucial role in calcium absorption and bone health. Sun exposure is a natural source of vitamin D; however, lack of sunshine is a concern in certain regions, such as here in the Northeast. Foods like fatty fish, egg yolks, and fortified milk are sources of vitamin D, but for some people, supplements may be necessary. 

3. Regular exercise

Exercise plays an important role in keeping your bones healthy. Weight-bearing exercises such as walking, jogging, and strength training are excellent ways to build and maintain bone density. Incorporating regular exercise into your routine not only strengthens your bones, but also improves balance and coordination. The stronger your bones are, the lower your risk for falls and fractures. 

4. Avoid smoking and limit alcohol intake

Smoking and drinking excessive alcohol can significantly weaken bones, increasing your osteoporosis risk. Quitting smoking and limiting alcohol intake can have a positive impact on bone health, among other health benefits.

5. Bone density testing

Bone density tests can help assess the health of your bones and your risk for fractures. It's especially recommended for women over 65 and men over 70, or for those with risk factors for osteoporosis. 

6. Monitor your protein intake

Getting enough protein is essential for healthy bones. A diet with a good balance of protein sources — including lean meats, beans, and dairy products — supports bone health and muscle strength.

7. Maintain a healthy weight

Carrying excess weight places added stress on your bones. What’s more, obesity increases your risk for several chronic diseases, some of which can put bone health at risk. Being underweight boosts the risk of bone loss and fractures, too. 

8. Eat omega-3 fatty acid-rich foods

Omega-3 fats have extensive benefits, and they’re known for their anti-inflammatory properties. While more research is needed, data suggests that a diet rich in omega-3 fats is also good for bone health. Research indicates omega-3s may also play a role in maintaining bone density by supporting the balance of bone-building and bone-breaking cells.

9. Limit caffeine 

Drinking too much caffeine can reduce calcium absorption, which is bad news for your bones. Try to limit your intake to 2-3 cups of coffee or other caffeinated beverages per day.

10. Stay hydrated

Staying hydrated is essential for overall health, which in turn supports bone health. Moreover, being well-hydrated may improve bone mineral density.

Implementing these strategies can help ensure that your bones remain strong and healthy throughout your lifetime. 

Call the Rheumatology and Allergy Institute of Connecticut to request an evaluation. We specialize in diagnosing and treating osteoporosis to improve bone health and reduce your risk of fractures.

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