May is National Osteoporosis Month, and the brittle bone condition isn’t just something to worry about when you reach your older years. Our bones play vital roles in our bodies. They give us the support our muscles need to exercise and move about, and they also protect our organs from being damaged.
The amount of bone tissue we have continues to increase until we’re about 30 years old. This peak bone mass then begins to decline as we go through the aging process, putting us at risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures later in life. Thankfully, there are ways we can work towards building up this bone tissue and preventing future bone loss.
Take note of these three things that may be adversely affecting your bone health, and make the necessary lifestyle changes that will keep you healthy and happy well into your golden years.
You’re not getting enough exercise.
Does your busy schedule make it difficult to find time for the gym? You’re not alone. In fact, only one in three adults actually gets the recommended amount of exercise each week, and studies have indicated that time spent sitting actually increases your risk of an early death.
We all know exercise is great for our waistline and for keeping our vital organs like the heart and lungs healthy. But, it’s also imperative for bone health. Add weight-bearing exercises like running and jumping rope to your workout routine since these activities can increase bone density. Muscle-strengthening exercises like free weight and resistance-band training will also impact bone health by increasing bone density and improving coordination needed to prevent osteoporosis-related fractures.
Your medication may be weakening your bones.
70% of Americans take prescription drugs for a variety of reasons, but the side effects these medications can cause aren’t always top of mind. Certain drugs that may treat one health condition can actually spur on the development of another, so it’s important to discuss with your doctor any and all impact taking a prescription can have. If you have type II diabetes for example, the common SGLT2 Inhibitor Invokana that regulates blood sugar levels has been shown to elevate a patient's risk of bone fractures and below-the-knee amputations. Even certain contraceptive methods, like the Depo-Provera injection, have been linked to reduced bone mineral density loss.
If you have any concerns about bone health as it pertains to your prescription drugs, voice your concerns with your doctor first before you stop taking them since this can also cause certain side effects.
You’re not eating healthy foods.
Did you know that Americans consume much more sodium than they should? Most organizations recommend no more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day yet most of us are eating more than 3,400 mg worth. Eating foods high in salt can not only spur on weight gain, but it can also cause a loss of calcium, the necessary mineral that builds strong bones.
Take a look at the foods you’re eating and consider ditching processed items for more wholesome options. Stock up on fruits, vegetables, fish or poultry, and whole grains for a well-rounded diet packed with the nutrients like calcium and magnesium that will build strong bones.
Better bone health starts today
Osteoporosis doesn’t usually present any symptoms until someone suffers a fracture or takes a bone mineral density test. With this in mind, it’s time to adopt the habits that will keep you feeling healthy for years to come. Exercise regularly, eat well, and have discussions with your doctor this May and in the months to come.
Morgan Statt is a health & safety investigator who writes about a variety of topics including product safety, trending health news, and consumer issues. In her free time, she enjoys running outdoors and finding the next great hiking trail. Follow her on Twitter @morganstatt.