Maintaining Bone Health While Aging
Osteoporosis is a common problem that many seniors face as bones become less dense with aging. This can make bones more susceptible to fracture or breaks and slower to heal afterward. However, there are many ways that aging adults can fight back against osteoporosis by making simple changes in their diet and lifestyle.
Eat a Well-Balanced Diet
Diet plays an important role in bone strength. In addition to calcium and vitamin D, vitamin C, vitamin B12, protein, magnesium, and other nutrients are also important. That means eating a diet that is rich is whole foods so the body gets nutrients in their natural form. Seniors should aim to “eat the rainbow” and focus on incorporating colorful fruits and vegetables into their meals, especially dark green vegetables which can be a good source of calcium. Also try to eat lean proteins and fish that contain omega-3 fatty acids.
Flavor foods with herbs and spices rather than salt as too much sodium can interfere with calcium absorption and can be damaging to the heart and kidneys.
Engage in Weight-Bearing Exercises
Another way to support healthy bones is to exercise them! Regular exercise builds and strengthens muscles, but it also impacts the bones attached to those muscles. Incorporate some weight-bearing exercises into your routine such as squats, stairs (or stair machines), elliptical machines, yoga, pushups, or exercises that involve resistance bands, handheld weights, or ankle weights. Consider working with a personal trainer who can help you stay safer and create a routine that fits your needs and abilities.
Boost Balance and Coordination
Practicing activities that promote balance and coordination can be beneficial as well. While it doesn’t necessarily strengthen bones, it can reduce risk of falls which can in turn protect bones. This is another way in which a personal trainer or senior fitness classes can help.
Talk to Your Doctor
Discuss your risk factors for osteoporosis with your doctor and ask about ways to protect your health. Your doctor may recommend a bone density scan to check current bone density. They can also let you know if you would benefit from vitamins or supplements to ensure you’re getting the right amount of nutrients each day.
Exercise, training, and meals are more fun when you’re doing it with someone else. Find a friend who will commit to working out with you so you can both support each other. Make meals together so you’re sharing the work and the leftovers! Plus, you can keep each other accountable to make sure you’re sticking with the plan. An in-home caregiver can also be a wonderful resource to help seniors plan and prepare meals, accompany them on walks, find exercises classes, remind them to take their medication, and write down questions they want to ask their doctor.
Support your loved one in aging in place more safely and comfortably while reducing fall risk by partnering with a senior care service in Bethlehem PA. A caregiver can meet your aging parent’s individual needs and boost their quality of life. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and get started!