As we get older, it becomes more important than ever to look after our bones. When our bones become thin, weak or fragile we can increase our risk of broken bones, from even the smallest bump or accident. That’s why we put together this blog to cover some simple bone health tips to keep your body healthy and help prevent serious injury.
Why are bone health tips important?
Most people don’t really think about their bones until they have a fracture or notice their bone health declining. But did you know that our bones are a living tissue and are in a constant state of renewal? That’s why building and maintaining strong bones is important for our lifelong health.
Our peak bone mass is reached around our late twenties, but luckily, there are still ways to maintain strong and healthy bones, such as getting the right amount of calcium, exercise, and vitamin D.
Poor bone health impacts two thirds of Australians over 50, and this can be the leading cause of bone fractures which often lead to chronic pain and a loss of independence.
So, what are some simple bone health tips for older Australians?
1. Increase your calcium intake.
If consuming more calcium means eating more cheese, yogurt and milk, then we are all for it! Luckily for us, these are in fact the best food sources to increase our calcium levels.
For those who can’t have dairy, there are some foods that provide high levels of calcium that don’t include it. Options include fortified plant-based milks such as soy, almond or oat milk, soy-based foods such as tofu, beans and lentils, and dark leafy green vegetables.
So how does calcium strengthen our bones? When we consume calcium, it combines with other minerals (like phosphorous) to form hard crystals, that give our bones strength. With calcium being stored in our bones, it can help support other functions of our body like muscle contraction, especially in the heart. Unfortunately, our bodies do not naturally produce calcium, making it very important that we consume calcium in our diet every day to ensure we maintain strong bones.
2. Exercise Regularly.
To maintain strong bones, it is recommended to exercise at least three times per week. Weight bearing exercise is the best type of movement to maintain strong bones. This may include walking, dancing, aerobics, jogging, tennis, or resistance training. Not only does this help support our bone health, but exercise helps to release those happy, feel-good endorphins too. If your exercise habits are restricted by mobility limitations, you could try exercises gentle on your joints such as chair yoga, swimming or water aerobics. We’ve put together another blog post with more exercise suggestions for older Australians that you might find helpful: https://letsgetcare.com.au/21-exercises-to-get-moving-as-you-age/
3. Get some Vitamin D.
Getting the right amount of Vitamin D helps support calcium absorption and build stronger bones. Most of us just need a couple of minutes per day to simply get some sun on our face, arms and hands to help our Vitamin D levels.
At Let’s Get Care, we encourage our clients to do something positive this week for their bone health. If you’re able to get out for some sunshine, pass on a picture to your Care Manager as we love seeing and sharing your photos.
For more information on keeping your bones healthy, you can check out Healthy Bones Australia, here: https://healthybonesaustralia.org.au/about-us/bone-health-australia/