How to reverse osteoporosis through diet and exercise

Fifty percent of all women over 50 in the United States will fracture a bone because of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is extremely common yet it often goes undiagnosed and even unnoticed. Due to how widespread it is, many wonder how or if it can be prevented. Diet and lifestyle changes are often thought to help. Keep reading if you want to learn more.

Osteoporosis is a bone disease that mostly affects women but can also affect men. As osteoporosis advances, your bones will become weaker and weaker and will start to deteriorate and break. It can often creep up, and you may learn you have it only after a break.

While you can work to prevent or manage osteoporosis, you cannot stop it. However, the more you know about the disease itself and the different treatments, the better you can prevent or treat your osteoporosis.

The most important considerations to include in your diet when you have osteoporosis are:

  • Calcium. This is an essential vitamin for bone health. However, simply trying to cram as much calcium into your diet isn't always a good thing. It is recommended that women under 50 take 1,000 milligrams of calcium daily. Women over 50 should try for 1,200 milligrams. You can measure the amount of calcium you get in a day by reading the labels on your food. These labels can tell you what percentage of daily calcium is in the food you are eating. If you are eating a fruit or vegetable that doesn’t have a nutritional label, there are many websites and services you can use to find out how much calcium is in your food.
  • Vitamin D. This is a crucial vitamin. The process by which your body absorbs calcium and how calcium strengthens your bones is aided by vitamin D. Usually, you get vitamin D from sunlight. This is because your liver and kidneys make sunlight into vitamin D. Most people need to supplement their vitamin D dosage due to things like living indoors, using sunscreens, the amount of melanin in their skin, or seasonal changes. You should aim for 600 international units of vitamin D per day if you are younger than 70. If you are older than 71, you should get 800 international units.
  • Protein. Protein is an essential piece of every part of your body and increases your mineral bone density. For every pound you weigh, .4 grams of protein are recommended. You can find protein both in meat and plant-based sources.

What are the best exercises for preventing osteoporosis?

General types of exercise to do for the prevention and management of osteoporosis are:

  • Weight-bearing activities. These activities include walking, jogging, tennis, netball, or dance. They are proven to be the best for bone density and improving balance suitable for the prevention of osteoporosis. However, these activities do not help your bones grow.
  • Some high-impact exercises. Special activities like skipping rope or jumping jacks can be a significant part of a bone-healthy exercise regime. However, you should consult with your medical provider about the health of your joints and how any underlying conditions you have might affect your ability to perform high-impact exercises.
  • Strength training. Also known as resistance training. You can use weights or other forms of resistance to grow your muscles, increase your strength, and add to your muscular endurance. Having stronger muscles is very important for osteoporosis treatment and prevention. Not only does it help you avoid injury, but it also adds to your mineral bone density. Be sure to do these types of exercises under the guidance of a fitness professional.
  • Exercises for that combine multiple skills at once. This can include things like yoga, pilates, or tai chi. In addition, you can work on balance and coordination. These will all help your body’s overall function and decrease your chance of injury if you have osteoporosis.
  • Mix your exercises. There is no one exercise to do to treat or prevent osteoporosis. The best way to do these things is to incorporate many types of exercise into your routine. Aim to regularly exercise around five times a week for about half an hour each time you exercise. Then, cycle through the different types of exercise and make sure to listen when your body and not over-exercise.

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Medically Reviewed on 11/8/2021
References
BetterHealth: "Osteoporosis."

Johns Hopkins Medicine: "What You Can Do Now to Prevent Osteoporosis."

National Institute on Aging: "Osteoporosis."