As we age, most of us start losing bone mass. This process accelerates for women after menopause. Losing bone mass can lead to Osteoporosis, a leading cause of bone fractures and disability for older women. Research shows that maintaining strong bones and preventing fractures is possible with exercise and proper nutrition.
Sedentary people lose more calcium from their bones. Find an activity which appeals to you and do it every day. At the very least, walk for at least 30 minutes per day.
Resistance (strength) training
Resistance training stimulates bone growth and may lead to increased bone density. Strong muscles also help with balance and coordination, critical elements in preventing falls leading to fractures. Work with a professional to establish a routine with weights and find the exercise which is appropriate for your condition.
Weight Bearing Exercise
Activities such as Pilates, Tai chi, and Yoga integrate strength, flexibility and balance. Keeping the body supple by adding spinal movements to strengthen the back muscles, helps to protect the vulnerable vertebrae. Standing and balancing postures add to the benefit of weight bearing to increase bone mass.
Find a teacher experienced with those with Osteoporosis. The right class should focus on body awareness, rather than on achievement or mastery of specific poses. Some movements of the spine may be contraindicated for you. Discuss this with your doctor before you begin.
Studies show that calcium from food sources rather than supplements helps to increase bone density. Eat Kale, Broccoli, Beans, Lentils and Soy products to increase calcium levels in your bones.
Avoid Calcium Loss
Excessive intake of animal protein, salt, caffeine and tobacco has been shown to deplete calcium. Eat less animal protein and more calcium rich vegetables. Avoid processed foods as they tend to be high in sodium.
Vitamins D and K
Vitamins D and K help the body absorb and retain Calcium. Moderate sun exposure is recommended. Eat Vitamin D rich foods such as Salmon, and other fatty fish. Supplement with at least 1000 IU of Vitamin D a day. Vitamin K is found in green leafy vegetables such as Kale, Collard Greens, Swiss Chard and Mustard Greens. Supplementation of vitamin K is not recommended.
Magnesium is necessary in converting vitamin D into an active form, which turns on our body’s ability to absorb calcium. Pumpkin, Spinach, Beans, Tofu, Brown Rice and Brasil Nuts are good sources.
Osteoporosis is treatable through natural methods such as good nutrition and exercise. Keeping a strong, healthy body can prevent or slow down the progress of Osteoporosis and allow you to continue to be physically active throughout your life.