Preventing bone loss is an important factor as we age. Bones grow during your first 20 years but after that, bone loss can begin as early as mid 30s, so it is important to establish a care routine early on.
Most adults should be getting between 600-800 IU of Vitamin D a day and between 100 and 1300 milligrams of calcium. The earlier you add this to your diet, the better off you will be. Foods that should be part of your daily diet are as follows:
- Cheddar cheese
- Fortified juices
- Broccoli and leafy greens
- Salmon, sardines
- Sun exposure for 5-10 minutes two to three times a week
Weight-bearing exercises are a great way to keep bones strong. Weight training can help in weight loss as well. Climbing stairs, hiking and jogging will help to maintain muscles also. According to the Surgeon General, the optimal goal is at least 30 minutes of physical activity on most days, preferably daily. If you have a medical condition, always talk to a healthcare provider. The following are exercises recommended by the National Osteoporosis Foundation:
-Resistance exercises include the use of free weights, wrist weights, weighted vests, exercise bands and weight machines found at gyms and health clubs. You can also do this type of exercise in your home without any special equipment, using your body as the resistance. For example, grasping the arms of a chair and using your arms and shoulders to gradually lift yourself up and lower yourself down is a resistance exercise. Wall and doorway pushes are other examples.
-Lifting weights is probably the most familiar type of resistance exercise. With proper supervision and instruction, older adults can also lift weights and increase muscle strength while gaining bone benefits. Initially, the weights should be light and you should pay close attention to using proper technique and posture to avoid placing too much stress on the spine. You can exercise each muscle group by doing the recommended exercises in repetitions with a brief rest of one to five minutes between each set of repetitions.
- Team sports that involve throwing, running or swimming
- Lower body exercises such as hip conditioning programs