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Benefiting your bones
Exercise defined
Working it

Eat your way to better bones
Eat your way to better bones

Exercise is an important part of the package, but it’s not the only thing you need for strong bones. You also require:

  • Calcium
  • Find it in dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurt. Calcium supplements are also available; try to take them in doses of 500 milligrams (mg) or less to allow for better absorption.

    Recommended amount: 1,200 mg daily

  • Vitamin D
  • Find it in milk and fortified calcium supplements. You can also get your daily dose by spending just 10 to 15 minutes a day in the sun, three days a week.

    Recommended amount: 400-600 IU daily

  • Protein
  • Find it in meats, poultry, fish, dry beans, peas, tofu, eggs, nuts, seeds, grains, milk and milk products.

    Recommended amount: 56 grams (g) daily for men, 46 g for women

You’re young at heart, but your bones are probably feeling their age. Don’t despair. You can keep your bones healthy through exercise. If you have osteoporosis or haven’t been active before, talk with your healthcare provider before you begin exercising.

Exercise defined

Certain types of exercise are more beneficial for bone than others. To help build bone, you need to engage in weight-bearing activities, or those that make you work against gravity. If you have osteoporosis, low bone mass or are frail, try walking or using elliptical trainers and stair-steppers. Otherwise, consider high-impact exercises such as running or tennis.

Another good bone-builder is resistance exercise, such as lifting weights and using weight machines.

You might want to add balance and flexibility exercises to your routine. Tai chi and yoga, for example, can help you maintain your balance and reduce the risk of a fall. If you have osteoporosis, be careful not to perform poses that cause you to twist your spine or bend forward at the waist.

Working it

Keep these pointers in mind as you get started:

  • Try to exercise for at least 30 minutes a day on most or all days. You can still get the same benefits if you break it up into three 10-minute workouts.
  • If you do resist-ance training, aim for two to three sessions a week. Do one or two sets of eight to 10 repetitions each, resting for 30 seconds to a minute between each. If you can’t do eight repetitions, use a lower weight; if you can do more than 10, increase the weight.
  • Pay attention to your body. Muscle soreness is common when you start an exercise routine. But if you have pain or soreness that lasts more than two days, you need to slow down.