Having strong, healthy bones is important at any age. But as we age, the health of our bones requires more attention. Diminished bone density can lead to osteoporosis, a debilitating disease that increases the risk of fractures. 

Get the information to stay proactive about your bone health.

Tips to Keep Your Bones Strong as You Age

These steps can help you keep your bones strong and healthy.

  • Maintain a Healthy Weight

For many, this struggle is real. But research has shown maintaining a healthy weight is your best bet when it comes to protecting your bone health and mobility in the long-term. This means not being too heavy nor too thin.

Being obese has been shown to impair bone quality and increase the risk for fractures due to the stress of excess weight. Being underweight increases the risk of osteopenia and osteoporosis. And yo-yoing between weight loss and gain can also contribute to significant bone loss.

  • Stay Active

There are lots of reasons to make physical activity a part of daily life. Exercise can help reduce levels of stress and anxiety, improve balance and lower risk of falls, enhance sleep, and decrease feelings of depression. Most importantly, people who exercise regularly not only live longer, but also may live better — meaning they enjoy more years of life with less pain or disability. On the other hand, lack of physical activity can lead to increased visits to the doctor, more hospitalizations, and increased risk of certain chronic conditions.

Encouraging the older adults in your life to exercise may not be easy — it can be difficult to get someone to start a new activity — but the rewards are worth the effort. 

Try to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day. Activity can include:

  • Walking, running or jogging
  • Dancing
  • Cycling
  • Swimming
  • Yoga and Pilates
  • Weight training
  • Light stretching
  • Eat the Right Foods

Eating a well-balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin D is important to maintaining overall health as well as your bone health. Calcium and vitamin D have both been shown to strengthen bones, yet many Americans are not getting enough.

An anti-inflammatory diet, one that’s rich in vegetables, fruits, fish, nuts, and whole grains, slows down bone loss in post-menopausal women. This type of eating pattern is high in protein, calcium, and micronutrients such as vitamin K and magnesium, all of which are key to maintain bone health.

Women over the age of 50 and men over the age of 70 need 1,200 milligrams of calcium a day (men younger than that should still get at least 1,000 milligrams). The best way to get it is through food.

Aim for five servings of fruits and vegetables and at least three servings of dairy a day, such as low-fat or non-fat milk and yogurts and cheese, and about nine servings of protein per week. Limit your intake of foods that are processed or high in sugar, salt, fat or carbohydrates.

  • Get More Calcium and Vitamin D

Calcium and Vitamin D are the two most important nutrients for older people. While calcium helps build blocks of bone tissues, vitamin D ensures your body consumes and process calcium.

So, increase your daily intake of these nutrients. There are many food items that are rich in calcium and Vitamin D, like milk, yogurt, cheese, salmon, egg yolks, and soy and rice beverages.

If you have any preexisting disease or illness, make sure to consult a qualified dietician or nutritionist before making any change in your diet.

Calcium Recommendations:

  • Females aged 50 and younger: 1,000 milligrams (mg)
  • Females aged 51 and older: 1,200 mg 
  • Males aged 70 and younger: 1,000 mg 
  • Males aged 71 and older: 1,200 mg

  • Ditch the Bad Habits

We all have our vices, but there are few you may want to consider kicking to the curb. Those who smoke and drink a lot of alcohol and caffeine are at greater risk for osteoporosis. Small measures taken every day to adopt a healthy lifestyle can make the biggest difference for you.


  • Limit Caffeine Swap out coffee and tea and caffeinated soft drinks with decaffeinated.
  • Limit Alcohol For women, limit to no more than one drink a day. For men, limit to no more than two drinks a day.
  • Stop Smoking Find a class or program that can help you quit. 

  • Focus on Balance

People over 55 with poor balance are more than two times as likely to have an osteoporosis related fracture than those without balance issues. They are around three times more likely to have a hip fracture. Good balance is key to prevent a fall, which can cause a fracture.

You can easily check your balance with this simple self-test: Place one foot in front of the other, heel touching toe, for 10 seconds. If you cannot do that, or if you cannot stand on one foot for 10 seconds, you are at higher risk of falling.

If this is you, talk to your doctor. 


Improve Your Balance With These 4 Easy Exercises: 

  1. Stand on one foot

Find a sturdy chair or countertop to hold on to for balance. Lift one foot up and hold it for 10 seconds. Repeat this 10 to 15 times, then switch and do the same thing with the other leg. It is quite normal to find it easier to stand on one leg than the other. With practice, you will likely feel more comfortable on both legs. Once you perfect this move, try reaching your raised foot as far as you can out to the front.


  1. Walk heel to toe

Start by putting the heel of one foot just in front of the toes of the other foot. Your heel and toes should touch or almost touch. Choose a spot ahead of you and focus on it to keep you steady as you walk. Start walking, putting your heel just in front of the toe of your other foot. Walk 20 steps like this, staring at your spot for balance.


  1. Rock from side to side

For this exercise, stand with your feet apart, so that the space between them is the same width as your hips. Make sure both feet are pressed into the ground firmly. Stand straight, with your head level. Then, slowly transfer your weight to one side, lifting the opposite foot. Hold it up for 20-30 seconds. Transfer the weight back into both feet and repeat on the other side. Start by doing this exercise for balance five times per side, then work your way up to more repetitions.


  1. Balance walk

Pretend you are a tightrope walker in the circus. Raise your arms out to your sides, parallel to the floor. Choose a spot ahead to focus on and walk towards. Start walking in a straight line. As you walk, lift your back leg up and hold it for a few seconds. Repeat this while alternating legs, walking 20 steps.

  • Get a Bone Density Scan

If you are concerned about your bone health or risk factors for osteoporosis, schedule an appointment with your doctor. If they are concerned you may be at risk, they may recommend a bone density test, also known as a DEXA (DXA) bone densitometry scan.

While the scan will not strengthen your bones, it can provide you with a baseline on how strong or dense your bones are and whether you are at greater risk for osteoporosis.


Ask Your Doctor

If you are concerned about your bone health or your risk factors for osteoporosis, including a recent bone fracture, consult your doctor. He or she might recommend a bone density test. The results will help your doctor gauge your bone density and determine your rate of bone loss. By evaluating this information and your risk factors, your doctor can assess whether you might be a candidate for medication to help slow bone loss.

To learn more about bone health or to schedule an appointment with one of our specialists, call us at 800-698-1280.

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