Physical activity. Nearly half of all Americans do not get enough physical activity to strengthen their bones. Children and teens should get at least an hour of physical activity every day. Jumping rope, running, skateboarding, and riding bikes are enjoyable activities that also build strong bones. Adults should get at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day. Simple activities like walking and stair climbing will strengthen bones.
Healthy diet. The average American eats far too little calcium and vitamin D for good bone health. High levels of calcium can be found in milk, leafy green vegetables, soybeans, yogurt, cheese, and fortified orange juice. Vitamin D is produced in the skin by exposure to the sun and is found in fortified milk and other foods. For those individuals not getting enough calcium and vitamin D in the diet, supplements can be helpful.
Bone mineral density test. Women over 65, anyone who has a fracture after age 50, and others with significant risk factors should get a bone density test. Bone density tests use xrays or sound waves to measure the strength of the bones. Bone density tests are safe, painless, and quick, and indicate the health of bones. Check with your health care professional about your risks and find out if you need a bone density test.
Is falling part of aging?
Falls are not just the result of getting older. Most falls can be prevented. But as you age, falls become more dangerous. Since poor bone health may result in painful and debilitating fractures, its important to keep bones strong and to prevent falling.
How are falls prevented?
Exercise Regularly. Physical activity is one of the most important ways to reduce your chances of falling. Physical activity improves strength, balance and coordination.
Improve home safety.
- Remove things that may cause tripping.
- Remove all small rugs.
- Don't use step stools.
- Install grab bars.
- Use non-slip mats in the bathtub and shower.
- Use bright light bulbs.
- Add handrails and light in all staircases.
- Wear shoes with good support and non-slip soles
Review your medicines with a health care professional. Some medicines, or combinations of medicines, can result in drowsiness or light-headedness, which can lead to a fall. Include prescription and over-the-counter medications in your review.
Request a vision examination. Poor vision from an incorrect glasses prescription or a condition like glaucoma or cataracts may result in a fall.
Last Updated: Aug 12, 2009