Building strong bones while you’re young is essential in preventing osteoporosis (a disease that weakens your bones) later in life. In fact, bone mass often peaks by the time your turn 30. Below are some tips for building healthy bones before the age of 30 and beyond:
- Eat a well-balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin D. Make sure your diet includes good sources of calcium, such as low-fat dairy products and foods and drinks with added calcium. Include plenty of vitamin D in your diet, too. Egg yolks, saltwater fish, liver and milk are good sources for vitamin D. Fruits and vegetables also contribute other nutrients that are important for bone health. How Much Calcium and Vitamin D Do You Need?
- Get plenty of exercise. Like muscles, bones become stronger with exercise. Weight bearing exercises such walking, jogging, playing tennis or step aerobics will keep your bones strong. You should also include strength training as part of your exercise routine. Get at least 30 minutes of exercise each day.
- Live a healthy lifestyle. Don’t smoke and avoid or limit alcohol. Women should have no more than one alcoholic drink a day and men should limit themselves to no more than two drinks.
- Maintain a healthy weight. This is particularly important for women. Being underweight raises your risk of fracture and bone loss. Make changes in your diet to increase your weight. Talk to your doctor or a dietitian.
- Be careful with caffeine. Coffee, tea and soft drinks (sodas) contain caffeine, which can decrease calcium absorption and contribute to bone loss. Consume these drinks in moderation.
- Check your medications. The use of some medications can increase your risk of developing osteoporosis. Medicines That May Cause Bone Loss. Talk with your doctor to develop a prevention strategy that accounts for these factors.
- Get tested. If you’re a postmenopausal woman, a man age 50 and older or if you’ve recently broken a bone, talk to your doctor about getting a bone density test.