What can I do to build better bones?

A:

While there are data to support that sufficient weight-bearing physical activity can help offset bone loss with age, there are many confounding factors unique to each individual which can influence how well YOUR body and skeleton will respond. Thus it is important to work closely with your medical providers to identify the best solution for you.

That said - in order to influence bone, you need to intentionally load the skeleton through muscle strengthening exercises, or by doing impact activity. If your low bone mass is at your spine, doing weight training activities that work the muscles of your back and core can strengthen bone, but more importantly, reduce your risk of fracture. To increase bone mass at the femoral neck region in the hip, you must do exercises that specifically target this area. Examples of exercises that can benefit the femoral neck include weighted vest activities, stair climbing, and dancing - to name a few.

Ensuring that you are getting adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D is also important. At 65 you should be taking 1200 mg of calcium daily, preferably spread out across your meals to enhance absorption. You should also take 600 international units of vitamin D. There is no good evidence to support taking more and in fact, there are data to suggest that too much calcium can have negative effects.

For more information about exercise and skeletal health, visit Better Bones & Balance.

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