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A disease that mostly hits the aging and elderly, osteoporosis occurs when the amount of calcium in bones depletes faster than it can be replaced – causing a decrease in bone mass and density, thus increasing the risk of fractures.

While old age might seem far away for some of us, it’s important to develop healthy bones when you are young. Bone mass only increases until around age 30, at which point typically more bone is lost than can be replaced.

Help maintain the condition of your bones and prevent osteoporosis with these 5 tips:

1. Ensure adequate calcium in your diet with dairy and more

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Dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt are great sources of calcium. But vegans and those who are lactose intolerant need not miss out – there are other non-dairy calcium-rich foods, such as soy, beans, and leafy green vegetables such as kale and watercress. Canned sardines are also chock-full of calcium thanks to their bones.

 

2. Avoid osteoporosis by staying away from tobacco

fight Osteoporosis bone health

Smoking doesn’t just take a toll on your lungs – it contributes to a decreased bone density and a higher risk of fractures as well.

Because of a link between tobacco and estrogen metabolism, female smokers tend to reach menopause earlier, which in turn results in a drop in bone density.

And yes, those who inhale second-hand smoke are not spared either, so be considerate to your loved ones and refrain from exposing them to harmful cigarette fumes.

3. Spend some time outdoors or take supplements to improve absorption of calcium

fight Osteoporosis bone health

Calcium isn’t the only supplement you can take to help strengthen your bones. Vitamin D is necessary to enable the absorption of calcium you’ve ingested. You can find over-the-counter supplements that contain both calcium and vitamin D.

Our skin naturally produces vitamin D when we’re exposed to the sun, so head outside and get active with sports or even just daily walks amidst nature. However, since vitamin D can be obtained through food or supplements, do not put your skin at risk of over-exposure to the sun.

4. Do weight-bearing exercises regularly

fight Osteoporosis bone health

Weight training won’t just strengthen muscles and tone up those flabby bits; it’ll also help increase bone density over time. You don’t have to train as though you’re preparing for a bodybuilding competition, of course – just do a few sets of reps per day to help keep your bones strong.

Other than the common weight-lifting exercises focused on the arms and shoulders, try doing lunges, squats, and step-ups while holding weights to specifically help strengthen your hips and spine. These exercises, along with balance exercises such as tai chi, will help prevent falls and the potential fractures that could come with them.

You should always consult your doctor for advice before starting out a new workout regimen.

5. Limit alcohol consumption to help your body retain nutrients

fight Osteoporosis bone health

Excessive use of alcohol is linked with low levels of vitamin D, thus limiting the body’s ability to absorb calcium. It’s fine to have a fun night out at a pub with your buddies, but just remember, everything in moderation!