One of the most tragic myths associated with aging is that osteoporosis is inevitable and there is nothing you can do to prevent bone mass from deteriorating. Although the chances of developing osteoporosis may increase as we age, there are many steps we can take to stop bone loss in its tracks and maintain an active lifestyle. Natural supplements, a calcium rich diet, a daily dose of sunshine and regular exercise can help keep our bones strong so that we can actively embrace all of the joys our golden years have to offer.
Osteoporosis is a disease in which the bones become weak and fragile, making us more prone to fractures, particularly in the hip, spine and wrist. While women are four times more likely to develop the disease, men can also be afflicted by it. According to the National Institutes for Health, eight million women and two million men suffer from osteoporosis each year.
Post- menopausal women have an increased risk because women can lose up to 20 percent of their bone density in the five to seven years following menopause. Small-framed people are at higher risk for developing osteoporosis. Although there are some elements, such as heredity, that we cannot control, there are many other risk factors that we can influence to keep bone mass at healthy levels throughout our lives.
Getting plenty of calcium and Vitamin D can greatly reduce the chances of developing osteoporosis. Calcium is a mineral that is essential for healthy bones as well as proper function of the heart, muscles and nerves. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium. If we are unable to absorb adequate calcium from our diets then the body will take its calcium from the skeletal system, which weakens existing bones and prevents the formation of healthy new bone.
Unfortunately, most people in this country don’t get enough calcium or Vitamin D to keep their bones strong. That is why millions of Americans take natural calcium and Vitamin D supplements to help maintain normal bone density. The supplements, which are safe and well tolerated by most people, are available online and in health food stores.
Weight-bearing exercises, strength training and proper nutrition are also vital components in maintaining strong bones. You should talk to your holistic practitioner before beginning any exercise program to help determine which activities best fit your needs and physical condition. Make a point to include calcium rich foods in your diet such as low-fat milk, yogurt, leafy green vegetables and fish.