For many of us, osteoporosis is a condition we generally associate with the elderly, and to some extent that’s true. According to Osteoporosis Canada, one in four women over the age of 50 live with the condition. And in terms of dollars and cents of it all, that ends up costing the Canadian health care system a whopping $1.9 billion annually to treat and manage.
In a nutshell, osteoporosis is defined as the thinning and wearing of bones to a point where they become pororous and brittle, increasing the chance of breaks and fractures as we age.
Apart from the obvious ˜ouch’ factor, why should you care? Good question.
Well, research suggests bones for both men and women start wearing in our mid-30’s. Apparently the aging process kicks in a lot sooner than we’d all like to admit. The good news is some basic prevention and health maintenance can reduce and in some cases stop the progression of the condition. Here are some easy things you can do in your 20’s and 30’s to make sure you maintain good bone health:
1. If you haven’t yet incorporated calcium in your diet, it might be a good idea to start.
For adult women, who haven’t hit menopause, the suggested dosage is 1,200 mg daily. Apart from keeping your bones healthy and strong, calcium also maintains healthy teeth, blood and muscle. One stop shop.
2. Your body also needs Vitamin D to absorb the calcium you’re taking.
Whether you get it from the sun or foods such as eggs, Vitamin D is key to your good bone health.
3. If the idea of popping a vitamin turns your stomach, try to incorporate more foods in your diet that are high in calcium.
That means broccoli, salmon, tofu, milk, yogurt and twist my arm¦.cheese. Leafy dark greens like spinach are great options too.
Experts in the field do recommend a combination of weight resistance (free weights and bands) and weight-bearing exercises that include jogging, tennis and walking. Apart from keeping your bones tough as nails, this combo will help with overall balance and muscle tone.
5. And while you’re jumping on the healthy-living bandwagon, kick the smoking habit to the curb.
Smokers are at a higher risk for acquiring the condition.As with most preventative measures, it’s never too early to start. Some thoughtful care and small tweaks to diet and lifestyle can make a huge difference down the road. As with most things, why put off tomorrow what you can get to today.