Most people reach peak bone mass between the ages of 25 to 30. Although everyone will lose bone mass with age, there are certain things that we can do to slow down the process. Poor bone health can lead to conditions such as osteoporosis, whereby bones become weak and brittle and are more prone to breaking. That’s why it’s so important to take your bone health seriously throughout your entire life.
What happens to my bones as I age?
Bones change continuously: new bone is made and old bone is broken down, a process commonly referred to as bone remodeling. When you’re young, new bone is made faster than old bone is broken down, leading to a high bone mass. However, as you age, the reverse happens: bones are broken down faster than gained.
Additionally, our bones become more porous as we get older, which means they begin to absorb more calcium from our diets. This can lead to lower bone density and a higher risk for fractures.
How to maintain your bone health as you age
While you can’t stop bone remodeling from taking place, you can slow the rate at which it occurs. Some ways you can do that include:
- Eat plenty of calcium as this is what’s responsible for building new bone. Include rich foods in your diet such as milk, cheese and dark green leafy vegetables. Also consider taking calcium supplements.
- Get about 30 minutes of exercise every day. Try activities that strengthen your bones, such as mild strength training, walking, or even yoga.
- Aim to be a healthy weight. Higher body weight puts more stress on the skeleton, which can lead to weaker bones.
- Smoking is bad for our bones because it decreases the amount of oxygen in our blood. Make an effort to quit if you want to get healthy and maximize your bone health.
- Make sure you get the recommended amount of vitamin D. Sunlight helps us absorb this vitamin, so be sure to spend time outside in the sun every day. Also consider taking a supplement if you’re not getting enough sunlight.
Enlist the help of your doctor
If you’re concerned about your bone health, it’s always important to consult your regular GP. They will be able to run a bone density test to determine the rate at which you are losing bone mass. Depending on the results, they can then recommend medication to help slow bone loss.
If you take good care of your bones now, they will last longer into old age and prevent conditions like osteoporosis that can lead to fractures. The best way to be sure your bones are strong is by making good lifestyle choices throughout life.