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Can osteoporosis be prevented?

There are a number of risk factors for osteoporosis. Some of those - heredity, genetics, medications you may need - you can't change. Many risk factors are within your control, however. Reducing your intake of alcohol, caffeinated beverages, and increasing the right kind of exercise and foods can help reduce your risk of osteoporosis. Include calcium through food sources along with magnesium and vitamin D to boost its absorbancy is good nutrition practice. 

As far as exercise you want two types: weight bearing and resistance training.

Weight bearing exercise includes walking and running. Jumprope is a higher impact form of weight bearing exercise. If you are symptom-free and not at risk for osteoporosis the higher impact you can safely do will have a more positive impact on the bone. Gymnasts compared to swimmers have a higher bone density. You of course want to be safe and avoid too much high impact exercise. More of a low impace exercise will not have the same positive effect on bone. If you're sedentary, beginning a walking or jogging program may increase your bone density. You need to reach what's referred to as a Minimal Effective Stress. More walking or more running won't further increase your bone density. 

Resistance training, or lifting weights, works on the bones by the direct force applied and by strengthening muscles that pull on the bone. There is an optimal resistance range for improving bone density. Lifting a weight you can lift 10 times to fatigue provides the best bone benefit. Lifting a lighter weight more times does not provide the same bone density results. You do want to begin there in order to avoid injury and progress gradually to the ideal bone building range. 

Listen to your other muscle and joint concerns to weigh the advantages and consider the right exercise plan based on your priorities. 

Osteoporosis prevention is focused on keeping your bones strong and healthy. You cannot guarantee you will never have osteoporosis, but you can lessen your risk by strengthening your bones. It is important to get enough calcium and vitamin D to build strong bones throughout your life. Adults between 18 and 50 years of age should consume 1,000 milligrams of calcium daily. This can be found in foods or supplements. Women over 50 years old and men 70 or older need 1,200 milligrams of calcium daily. Most people need between 400 and 800 international units (IUs) of vitamin D daily.

Exercise is also important to building strong bones and decreasing bone loss. Exercises that put weight on your bones, like walking, jogging, playing tennis, and others, will strengthen those bones.

Smoking and drinking more than two alcoholic beverages daily also increases your risk of osteoporosis.

Susie Whitworth
Nursing

Osteoporosis is largely preventable. Bone health optimization must occur throughout life in order to prevent osteoporosis. Other methods of prevention include: adequate intake of calcium and vitamin D and good nutrition. The best method of getting adequate calcium is through a proper diet as calcium supplements are not as effective. Vitamin D is necessary in order for calcium to be absorbed. Vitamin D is synthesized in the body when the skin is exposed to sunlight for 20 minutes a day with hands and face exposed.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.