Posted on June 19, 2013
Healthy bones can help you stay strong and active throughout your life. Good childhood bone health can help to avoid bone loss and fractures later in life. It is important to maintain a physically active lifestyle and eat a balanced diet with plenty of calcium, vitamin D.
Osteoporosis is a common bone disease that affects adults (mostly women), usually as they age. It is associated with low bone mass and thinning of the bone structure, making bones fragile and more likely to break.
Some people are a higher risk for osteoporosis than others. Not all risk factors can be changed, but healthy habits and a proper exercise routine can keep bones healthy and reduce risk.
Risk factors include*:
- Age: More common in older individuals
- Sex: More common in women
- Family History: Heredity
- Race and Ethnicity: Affects all races. In the US, increased risk for Caucasian, Asian, or Latino
- Weight: Low body weight (small and thin)
- Diet, especially one low in calcium and vitamin D
- History of broken bones
- Inactive lifestyle
- Alcohol abuse
- Certain medications, diseases, and other medical conditions
*National Osteoporosis Foundation
Staying active with Osteoporosis
Inactivity is one of the major risk factors for osteoporosis. The right exercises and good habits can keep bones strong and prevent or reverse the effects of osteoporosis. Weight-bearing exercise, such as walking, is an important way to build and maintain healthy bones. Muscle strengthening exercises can help prevent and treat osteoporosis and has been found to stimulate bone growth. It is best to start exercising earlier in life, however, you can begin exercising at any age and still reap great benefits!
If you have osteoporosis, are at high risk for a fall or fracture, or have a medical condition, affecting your ability to exercise, consult your physician and a physical therapist before starting any exercise program.
Using proper posture and body mechanics during all activities protects the spine against injury. Here are some tips:
- Keep your back, stomach, and leg muscles strong and flexible.
- Sit up tall! When sitting, keep your spine and head straight. Put a small pillow behind your low back to keep your spine in a good position.
- Use good body mechanics for all activities.
- When lifting or bending forward, bend your knees, keep your back straight, bend forward at the hip (not the back), and lift with your legs. Keep the load close to your body.
- Ask for help! Don’t lift heavy objects without assistance.
- Staying active can help to prevent injuries.
For more information visit American Physical Therapy Association
Acknowledgements: APTA Section on Geriatrics