1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men in Canada will suffer from an osteoporotic fracture during their lifetime (Osteoporosis Canada), making prevention and treatment an important topic for people of all ages.
Bone density changes over time. It peaks in most people around 25-30 years of age and then slowly declines with age. While the decline is inevitable, there is much you can do to slow the decline and maintain bone density as you age, reducing the risk of osteopenia and osteoporosis.
Here are some habits you can adopt to maintain your bone density:
1. Do Weight-Bearing Exercise
Exercise is critical, particularly weight-bearing exercise. The stress that weight-bearing exercise puts on the bones stimulates the production of bone tissue.
Walking is a fantastic way to build bone density and if your joints can tolerate it, lower-impact plyometric exercises (such as small hops on the spot or skipping rope) will also stimulate bone production.
2. Strength Train
Moderate weight training a few times a week has been shown to significantly increase bone density.
Strength training not only strengthens your bones but also increases strength and muscle mass making you less likely to fall in the first place.
Start with a full body strength routine 2-3 times per week for 30 minutes. Focus on functional movements such as squats, rows, and the hip hinge.
3. Improve Your Balance
Balance training, in addition to keeping your body strong with strength training, will help prevent falls, and therefore lower your risk of a fracture.
Balancing on one foot, doing calf raises, or sitting on a stability ball are great ways to challenge your balance.
4. Eat a Healthy Diet
Eat a balanced, whole foods diet with plenty of protein, fiber, and healthy fats.
Be sure to include foods containing calcium and magnesium such as dairy, leafy greens, and nuts.
Vitamins D, A, and K2 are also important for calcium absorption.
5. Reduce Stress
Chronic stress eventually leads to bone loss by inhibiting bone formation and stimulating calcium loss from the bone.
What you do to reduce stress will depend on the sources of stress in your life.
My goal in mentioning it here is to give you one more compelling reason to prioritize stress management in your life.
Your Next Steps
At Ascend Fitness, we are here to help. We specialize in customized training programs that fit your lifestyle and abilities. We focus on functional training —meaning we translate every movement you make in the gym as progress towards a goal outside of the gym, whether that means being able to get up and down off the floor to play with your grandkids or hike in our local mountains.
Our Fit for Life 6 Week New Member Program is the best place to start. CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE. Once you register we’ll discuss your fitness goals and what we can do to help you gain your strength and confidence back.