Here are two alarming statistics: Fragility fractures affect approximately one-half of women and one-third of men over the age of 50. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to break-proof your bones and prevent them.
Don't be one of those people who don't give their bones a second thought until there's a problem - check out these five effortless ways to keep them healthy and strong as you age.
Five tips to prevent fragility fractures
#1: Do exercises that help build bone density
Your bones grow stronger with regular exercise – and it’s never too late to start! The most beneficial kinds of exercise for your bones include jogging, aerobics, tennis, dancing and brisk walking. These kinds of exercises help build bone density and increase flexibility and stability at the same time. Don’t go overboard, though – the hormonal imbalances that result from super-intense training can lead to decreased bone bass and up your risk of developing osteoporosis.
#2: Eat well to maintain a healthy weight
While heavier people tend to have a higher bone mass, being overweight
has implications for joint health. Ultimately, this will increase your risk of osteoporosis. At the opposite end of the scale, eating disorders – such as bulimia and anorexia – can also increase your risk. It’s therefore important to maintain a healthy weight by eating fresh, nutrient-dense whole foods and avoiding crash diets.
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#3: Spend time in the sun every day
Even if you’re consuming enough calcium, your body needs vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin, to utilise it. The scary thing, however, is that studies show that a significant proportion of South Africans are vitamin D deficient. To ensure this doesn’t include you, make sure you expose your face and arms to the sun for around 10 minutes each day.
#4: Avoid soft drinks, coffee and energy drinks
The next time you get a thirst, reach for a glass of water rather than a can of something fizzy. Harvard researchers recently reported that girls who consumed several carbonated drinks a day were five times more likely to suffer bone fractures. And, too much caffeine can a similar effect, they found. So limit your intake of coffee and energy drinks and opt for natural drinks instead.
#5: Use salt alternatives like herbs, chilli and spices
Salt is thought to speed up the body’s loss of calcium. Most people consume at least 50% more than the recommended daily limit, so instead of sprinkling it onto everything you eat, keep salt levels down. You can try using alternatives when you cook, such as herbs, chilli and spices. Also be sure to cut down on processed foods, which pack loads of hidden salt.
Building healthy bones is as simple as that! Would you add any other tips to this list?