Support your diet with plenty of exercise. Exercise strengthens bones and muscles and helps prevent bone loss. It also keeps you active – immobility can lead to osteoporosis. These types of weight-bearing exercises should be done four times a week:
- Racket sports.
Importance of calcium and Vitamin D
Everyday stress from daily activity gradually wears away at your bones. Bone is a living tissue, constantly forming and breaking itself down. Two groups of cells maintain bone structure. Osteoclasts eliminate weak bones and then osteoblasts fill in the crevices to build new bone. In early adulthood, this remodeling cycle is completed every three to four months.
As people age, the rebuilding process slows down – the osteoclasts remove old bone faster than the osteoblasts can build it. It becomes harder to absorb calcium and other nutrients like Vitamin D.
Sufficient amounts of calcium balance the remodeling process. In older adults, adequate calcium levels can slow bone loss and lower the risk of osteoporosis. Canada’s Food Guide recommends:
- Three servings of milk and alternatives including yogurt, cheese, calcium-fortified beverages, puddings, custards (two servings if under 50)
If you avoid dairy, other alternative food sources are high in calcium. These include:
- Calcium-fortified soy beverages.
- Calcium-fortified orange juice.
Extra dietary calcium is not harmful. However, getting more calcium than you need from supplements can be harmful. Do not take extra calcium from supplements if your diet is already giving you enough calcium.