While many people work out to improve their heart health or lose weight, not many people think about their bone health while hitting the gym. But studies have found that exercise and diet can have a huge impact on your risk for developing osteoporosis in the future. So, just how can you prevent osteoporosis? Simple lifestyle changes in the present can make a huge impact on your health.
What is Osteoporosis?
We’ve all heard the term, but what exactly is osteoporosis? Osteoporosis is a disease that thins out the bone tissue in the body. This can occur from the body not producing enough bone tissue or a rapid drop in bone density. The bones become full of tiny holes that leave the overall structure brittle and weak. Those with osteoporosis have a much higher risk of aches and pains – as well as fractures and bone breaks. Some studies even found that osteoporosis can cause the body to shrink by as much as 5 inches of height!
Who Gets Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis affects both men and women, and it’s most likely to occur after age 50. That’s why it’s so important to develop good habits well in advance. Additionally, scientists have found a link between genetics and osteoporosis. Learning your family’s medical history can be a big step toward preventing bone health problems.
How Does Diet Affect My Risk?
Diet can play a major role in preventing osteoporosis down the line. Here are a few things to keep in mind before you plan your next meal:
- Calcium: Take 1,000-1,500 milligrams through foods like orange juice, kale, sardines, beans, fortified foods, and supplements.
- Sodium: Keep your sodium levels limited to help prevent calcium loss, bone spurs, and high blood pressure.
- Alcohol: Excess alcohol can disrupt hormones and calcium absorption, but a glass with dinner is probably okay.
How Does Exercise Affect My Risk?
Exercise is one of the best ways to lower your risk of osteoporosis in the future. Doctors recommend 30 minutes of exercise, five times per week. While you can experiment to find the workout that’s the best for your body and schedule, there are few things to consider. First, try to work in a combination of aerobic and strength-training activities, like:
- Aerobic activities: Jogging, swimming, walking, cycling, dancing, cardio machines
- Strength training: Bodyweight workouts, resistance band routines, weight machines, free weights
Plus, yoga has been found to increase bone density – particular in the spine and hip region.
How Do I Plan Ahead?
If you want to know how to prevent osteoporosis for the future, you’re already off to a great start! Planning ahead can make a world of difference to your health. Start by assessing your diet and exercise routine, and take small steps toward the recommended guidelines. Add a calcium supplement with vitamin D to your routine, or look up a few calcium-rich recipes for the next week. If you need to boost your workout routine, try investing in home equipment like the UltraSlide slideboard – a versatile trainer that can be used for both cardio and strength training.