6 Reasons Why Your Bone Health Matters As You Age

Sunday, August 7, 2016 12:15:12 AM America/New_York

Calcium intake is important at any age to continually develop healthy bones. Menopausal women especially need to ensure they are getting enough calcium from their diets. Sufficient vitamin D is equally important since it helps the body to absorb needed calcium.

Process of Bone Development

The body is created to include an ongoing process of bone development. The body makes new bone and breaks down old bone within the cycle. When the body is younger, it will make more new bone faster than breaking down the old resulting in a higher bone mass.

 

Peak Bone Mass

Most individuals will reach their peak (highest) bone mass in their middle twenties to middle thirties. Individuals with the highest peak mass will have more bone to sustain their bone health through the rest of their lives.

Risks of Osteoporosis

Risks of osteoporosis (brittle, weak, fragile bones) increase with age due to the cycle of bone development changing. Eventually, more bone is broken down in the process as compared to new bone created.

Menopausal Women

Women who are nearing and entering menopause are more vulnerable to bone loss. On average, there is a three-year window in which these women go through a rapid phase of bone loss – one year prior to menopause, two years past menopause. These women will lose bone mass on average of two percent (2%) each year during this time period.

How to Slow Bone Loss

Including a regular exercise program will help to slow bone loss in the body. This should include weight-bearing exercises as well as strength training sessions. The strength training will strengthen bones and muscles in the upper spine as well as the arms.

Weight-bearing exercise includes walking, running, stair climbing, jogging, skipping rope, skiing – each having a positive effect upon the entire skeletal system. The weight-bearing exercises will greatly benefit the legs, lower spine, and hips. Balancing exercises can also help to decrease the likelihood of falls which result in bone fractures.

Maintaining Excellent Bone Health

Calcium in the diet is important throughout life to maintain excellent bone health. Women need 1,000 milligrams per day during the ages of 18-50. Once women turn 50, the requirement increases to 1,200 milligrams per day.

Great food choices which are calcium-rich include low-fat dairy products, sardines with bones, salmon, dark green leafy vegetables, and soy products. Other foods consumed may be fortified with calcium.

Another excellent option is including a high-quality natural calcium supplement (with vitamin D if needed). For individuals who do not get enough vitamin D from the sun, the recommended dietary allowance is between 600-800 IU depending on age.

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