Fight Off Osteoporosis

Build stronger bones with these diet and fitness tips

osteoporosis prevention

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The right exercise and nutrients help prevent osteoporosis, the brittle bones disease. Here, a rundown of the best bone-builders so you can stand tall and stride confidently

Strength training

As you pull an exercise band, complete a push-up, or heft a weight, your muscles tug on your bones, stimulating the growth of new bone tissue - that’s one reason why adding strength training to your exercise schedule is so important. Most aerobic forms of exercise stress the bones in your lower body but not those in your upper body, while strength training lets you work both.

Aerobics (or cardiovascular exercise)

A workout must be weight-bearing in order to build bone. Walking quickly is weight-bearing (strolling, however, doesn’t have much impact because your body is used to it); so are jogging and aerobic dance. Jumping rope, stair-climbing, and hiking are other good weight-bearing exercises.

Cardio activities that have little bone benefit (but are great for anti-aging results) include swimming, cycling, water aerobics and using an elliptical machine.

Sports

Activities that are great for fracture prevention include racquet sports (which strengthen wrists and, with their pivots and side moves, are great for hips and spine, too), soccer, volleyball and basketball. Dancing is good for bones, too. Aim to strength train at least twice a week and do sports or cardio the other days of the week.

High-calcium foods

Women need 1,000 mg of calcium a day (1,200 if you’re postmenopausal), which translates to three (8-ounce) servings of nonfat milk or yogurt, four and a half slices of reduced-fat cheese, or any combo of milk, yogurt and cheese that equals the higher recommendation of three servings. Food is always a better source of nutrients, including calcium, than pills are.

Calcium supplements

If you’re not able to get many (or any) calcium-rich foods into your diet, then taking two 500-mg or 600-mg calcium supplements (one in the morning and one in the afternoon or evening) is a good idea. Your body only absorbs about 500 mg at a time, so two doses are usually better than one.

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