You can’t always prevent osteoporosis. There appears to be a genetic component, making certain people more predisposed to the disease. But physicians and researchers agree that you may be able to delay the onset of osteoporosis, lessen its impact or manage the complications of osteoporosis through some healthy living choices, including nutrition (which was discussed in a previous blog), exercise and making better health decisions.
Quitting smoking is always a sound health decision. Smoking causes lung cancer. But in addition, smoking affects all aspects of your body functioning, from the way that your heart pumps blood throughout the body and even how your bones absorb nutrients. Even if you have been a lifelong smoker, you can still accrue health benefits from quitting smoking today.
Avoid excessive use of alcohol. Alcohol intake interferes with the balance of calcium in your body. Alcohol abuse may also be implicated in the under-production of hormones. Hormones protect your bones, which is why post-menopausal women are at greater risk for osteoporosis. Alcohol abuse which leads to blackouts and falls puts you at greater risk for fractures.
Exercise regularly and do the right kind of exercises.
In general, osteoporotics should avoid high-impact exercises, even though these can contribute positively to bone health and overall cardiovascular health, because of their higher risk for bone breakage.
- walking at a quick pace indoors or outdoors or on a treadmill (still the cheapest and most popular form of exercise)
- use of an elliptical machine
- low impact aerobics
- water aerobics that include use of weights
- circuit training
- weight lifting (particularly lower weights with higher repetitions)
- exercising with resistance elastic bands
- utilizing weight machines
- modified yoga or pilates, specially designed for osteoporosis patients (not all forms and positions are safe)
- Tai Chi
- Functional exercises: if you have trouble walking up and down the stairs, practice this as your exercise. If getting up and down from various couches and chairs feels like exercise, turn it into your exercise!
Exercise needs to become part of your daily routine. You should start slowly, but you should attempt to exercise daily. Try to work your way up to 30 minutes per day in weight-bearing and/or muscle strengthening activities.
Before starting any exercise program, consult your health care provider.