5 Ways to Build Strong Bones

Written by Paul Wolf

Self-help advice on building strong bones. Successfully use your weight to stamp out the problem.

Myth: The gradual loss of bone mass begins at midlife for everyone. 

Reality: There is nothing inevitable about loss of bone density. The biggest problem is that most of us don't do enough to prevent it.
Advice on Osteoporosis
Ask your doctor about DXA imaging for measuring mineral density.
Ask about ultrasound of the heel, for predicting hip fracture.
Find out about other tests (such as urine tests) that determine risk for osteoporosis.  
"Osteoporosis, once acknowledged as a natural part of aging, does not need to be a consequence of aging any longer," says the National Institutes of Health.
This is not to say that aging does not play a role in osteoporosis. Of the 10 million Americans who suffer from osteoporosis, the vast majority are post-menopausal women, who have lost much of the protective value of estrogen.

To Build Strong Bones:
1. Eat a diet rich in calcium, vitamins and minerals. Target foods: milk products like yogurt, fruit and vegetables, leafy green veggies.

2. Older adults should get 1,000 to 1,500 mg of calcium per day. Children and young adults need at least 800 mg.

3.Consider supplementation in addition to calcium-rich food.

4. Do weight-bearing exercise regularly, such as brisk walking, jogging and all forms of strength training. (Swimming is not a weight-bearing exercise.)

5. Refrain from smoking and alcohol, which contribute to mineral loss.
But while there are genetic and hormonal factors at work, lifestyle is arguably the most powerful force when it comes to preventing this disabling condition. And remember, it is never too soon to make changes to your diet and exercise habits, which are your best weapons in the battle against osteoporosis.

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