This post is part of the Gorgeous 50’s series inspired by a book given to me by one of my sisters on my 50th birthday – ‘Grown up and Gorgeous in your 50’s’ by Pamela Robson. I will be sharing some of Pamela’s words and my own thoughts along the way. To see all posts published as part of this series, go here.
In your 50s, declining oestrogen levels will speed up the rate at which your bones lose calcium, putting you at risk of osteoporosis. Our bones are alive and they grow and change as we do; their health depends on what we eat and how active we are. Every day, your body rebuilds the cells in your bones. This cycle helps repair the tiny fractures and injuries the body suffers daily. The vertebrae in the spine, the hip bones and wrists are the areas that osteoporosis affects the most.
Pamela goes on to list 4 things you can do:
- Take a calcium supplement: 500 milligrams in the morning; 500 milligrams at night, taken with 600 milligrams magnesium.
- Eat calcium-rich foods: natural yoghurt, cheese, milk, broccoli and tofu.
- Cut down on alcohol: too much reduces the absorption of vitamin D.
- Do weight-bearing exercise: running, brisk walking, dancing, tennis or netball are good options. Each time your foot hits the ground you apply stress to your bones; the higher the impact, the greater the benefit to your bones. Note that non-gravity workouts such as swimming and bike riding are good for heart health but don’t build bones.
and A note on calcium:
The recommended dietary intake of calcium for women is 1000 to 1300 milligrams every day. Most of us are unlikely to achieve this through our diet alone, so supplements can be a useful way of making up the deficit. Taking calcium supplements can slow bone loss, although they do not completely stop it. Find out more about calcium from your GP – and if you haven’t already had one, get a bone density scan.
My first thoughts are with my parents generation and that keeping our bones as strong as possible is a very important and serious matter. I recently lost my Dad. It all started with a fall and a broken hip. My Mum has fallen and broken two wrists over recent years. One Auntie fell and had a very serious break/shatter in her femur and is still having ongoing problems due to it undoing the good from a previous hip replacement. Another Auntie fell and broke her hip and whilst recovering from that, fell again and has broken her femur (just above the knee). Having brittle bones is not fun at all!
What is osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a condition in which bones become fragile, leading to a higher risk of fractures (or breaks) than in normal bone. Osteoporosis occurs when bones lose minerals, such as calcium, more quickly than the body can replace them, leading to a loss of bone thickness (bone mass or density). As a result bones become more porous and less dense so that even a minor bump or fall can result in a fracture.
What can I do to prevent osteoporosis?
You can take action to maintain and improve your bone health at every stage of life. Adequate calcium intake, proper vitamin D levels (to help absorb calcium) and specific exercises are all important for healthy bones. For people with low bone density or osteoporosis these 3 factors are very important.
All the information you need to know what to do to look after your bones can be found at the links above. Do yourself a favour and get yourself familiar with the steps you should be taking. No bones about it – it’s important!
Ciao for now,
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