How To Keep Your Bones Healthy As You Age
Looking after our bones is really important, especially as we get older. Here are some handy tips on how to keep your bones healthy in older age.
Keeping your bones healthy is essential at any time in your life, but it’s even more important as we age.
Breaking a bone when you’re elderly can often lead to even more serious health complications, so the more you look after your bones, the better. The good news is that with the right lifestyle choices, it’s possible to maintain good bone health into older age.
There are many factors that can influence the condition of your bones, including:
- Age: after middle age, our bones gradually start to lose density which makes them weaker and more prone to breaking. Also, people over 65 are particularly at risk of having low levels of Vitamin D which can result in bone weakness.
- Hormones: osteoporosis is a condition that becomes more common as we get older and is a particular concern for post-menopausal women as lower oestrogen levels can accelerate the loss of bone mass.
- Family history and ethnicity: If you’re Asian, white or have a family history of osteoporosis you could be more at risk.
- Medications: some medications like corticosteroids can interfere with your body’s ability to maintain bone density.
- Lifestyle: eating poorly and being sedentary can impact the condition of your bones. Also, if you follow a diet that excludes certain food groups, e.g. you’re a vegan so don’t eat dairy, you need to make sure you take supplements or include alternative sources of calcium and Vitamin D in your diet.
Ways to improve and maintain your bone health
Having a healthy diet and getting plenty of exercise go a long way in keeping your bones in good shape. Some of the things you can do for good bone health include:
- Get enough calcium: eat plenty of calcium-rich foods like green leafy vegetables, pulses, dried fruit, sardines and dairy products like cheese, yoghurt and milk. It’s better to get your recommended vitamin and mineral intake by eating the right foods if you can, but taking supplements is also a good way to boost your calcium levels.
- Boost your Vitamin D levels: vitamin D is crucial for your body to absorb calcium, so as well as making sure you’re getting enough calcium, you need to pay attention to your Vitamin D levels too. Your body needs sunlight to naturally produce Vitamin D, so get outside as much as you can – even on a cloudy day. Also, add Vitamin D-rich foods like oily fish and eggs to your diet, if possible.
- Get moving: weight-bearing exercise, like walking or dancing, is really important for keeping your bones strong, so try and move around as much as you can. Even if you can only manage a spot of gardening or walking around the house, every bit of weight-bearing exercise will help.
- Curb your unhealthy habits: it’s easier said than done but giving up smoking and cutting down on alcohol can help keep your bones strong. Research suggests that smoking tobacco and drinking alcohol to excess can lead to bone weakness. If you’re struggling to give up smoking or drinking on your own, you can always ask your GP for help in cutting down or quitting for good.
Of course, if you’re worried about your bone health, you should consult your doctor who can refer you for tests, if needed.
Get a helping hand at home
Maintaining healthy bones can be more challenging if you live with a chronic condition or disability. It can mean important things like preparing nutritious meals, getting out and keeping active are much harder to do. Having the right support from friends, family or professional carers can make a big difference.
At Bluebird Care, our Care Assistants can give you the individual support you need in every area of your life, so you can continue to stay healthy and live well at home. From assisting you with going out for a walk or attending exercise groups to help with the cooking and taking your medication, we’re here to make life easier.