Seniors’ Health

Maintain healthy bones

Your bones are alive and thus they constantly change; new bone is made and old bone is lost throughout your life. For adults, their entire skeleton is replaced every 7 to 10 years.
Your bones continue to grow stronger up to your mid-20s, at which point your bone density reaches its lifetime peak. Once you reach 35, your old bone is lost more rapidly than the new bone being formed to replace it. For some adults, this bone loss is so extreme that the bones become fragile, weak and easily liable to break. This condition is called osteoporosis, affecting approximately 3 million individuals in the UK. Fortunately, you can take some simple measures to reduce your risk of developing osteoporosis, thus enabling you to maintain your strong bones into old age.

Avoid broken bones

One in every two women and one in every five men over the age of 50 will experience a broken bone, usually because of poor bone health. The hip, spine and wrist are the most common bones to break with women particularly at risk as, during and post-menopause, women experience rapid bone loss because their ovaries stop producing oestrogen (the female hormone). Whatever age you are, you can take some simple measures to prevent broken bones.

  • Eat a well-balanced diet containing enough vitamin D and calcium
  • Avoid falls
  • Avoid excessive alcohol intake
  • Avoid smoking
  • Take regular exercise (e.g. brisk walking, bowls, gardening or dancing)

Enjoy a well-balanced diet

A healthy and balanced diet is required to supply your body with enough fibre, energy and essential nutrients and vitamins. As you grow older, an adequate calcium and vitamin D intake is important to maintain your bone health. The following foods should be integrated into your daily diet:

  • Foods containing calcium
  • Tinned pilchards or sardines (including the soft bones)
  • Dairy products (e.g. yoghurt, cheese and milk)
  • Dried fruit (e.g. figs, raisins, prunes and dates)
  • Beans (e.g. lentils, baked beans and kidney beans)
  • Nuts and tahini
  • Okra, broccoli and kale
  • Tofu

Foods containing vitamin D

  • Fortified margarine
  • Oily fish (e.g. mackerel, salmon, sardines or herring)
  • Egg yolks
  • Fortified breakfast cereals

Take regular exercise

Regular exercise does keep your bones strong. If you do have osteoporosis, then you might need to be careful regarding vigorous exercise, but it is very important for you to keep active and to find some type of exercise you enjoy. Even a simple exercise like walking to the shops will help to keep your bones in good health and will help through improving your co-ordination and your balance, thus preventing falls.