FOLLOW THESE 3 TIPS TO FEED YOUR BONES AND KEEP THEM STRONG1,2

  1. Ensure your diet is packed with bone-healthy nutrients
    Calcium, vitamin D and protein are essential for building strong bones.  Aim to eat a varied and healthy range of foods, including 3–5 servings of calcium every day.
  2. Spend time outdoors
    Safe exposure to sunshine will help you get enough vitamin D, or take supplements if required.
  3. Plan your physical activity at least 3–4 times a week
    Aim for 30–40 minutes of weight-bearing, muscle-strengthening and balance-training exercises.

HOW MUCH CALCIUM DO WE NEED?3

How much calcium a person needs depends on their age and gender.  The highest daily intake is required for teenagers and older people.  During the teen years is a stage of rapid bone growth, which leads to peak bone mass in the early twenties. 

For women over 50 and men over 70 years of age, again more calcium is required.  Ageing causes hormone levels in your body to fall, which result in your bones losing more minerals such as calcium.

RECOMMENDED DAILY INTAKE (RDI) OF CALCIUM FOR ADULTS4

Gender Age (years) Calcium (mg/day)
Women and men 19+ 1000
Women 51+ 1200
Men 70+ 1200

HOW DO I GET ENOUGH CALCIUM IN MY DIET?

Calcium is critical for making your bones strong and keeping them that way.  You should aim to eat a varied and healthy range of foods, including 3–5 servings of calcium every day.

These four food groups are great sources of calcium:

Or try an easy snack of almonds mixed with dried apricots

EXERCISE REGULARLY TO IMPROVE COORDINATION, BALANCE AND STRENGTH4,5

There are specific types of exercise that are best for osteoporosis prevention. Weight bearing and muscle strengthening exercise helps improve and maintain bone density.

  • Weight-bearing exercise, which is exercise where you hold your own body weight while on your feet, can be anything from dancing or jogging to aerobics or tennis.
  • Muscle-strengthening exercises includes lifting weights, body-weight resistance training or just practicing functional movements such as standing and rising up on your toes.
Stretching

GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR EXERCISE ROUTINE

  1. Do it safely: A physiotherapist or exercise physiologists can recommend which activities are suitable for you.
  2. Do it regularly: You should exercise at least three times per week.
  3. Progress over time: Try and make small gains over time – increase a weight, walk for longer or try to do a more difficult yoga position
  4. Change it up: Don’t stick to the same routine, vary your exercise to keep it interesting
  5. Short bursts: Regular small sessions are better than one long session.
Prevent falls

IMPROVE FITNESS TO PREVENT FALLS

An important risk factor for broken bones is a fall – 90% of all fractures occur after a fall.  Individuals with better muscle strength have stronger bones, fall less and have fewer fractures. 

Resistance exercise and balance training are particularly important to improve muscle strength and function during post-fracture rehabilitation.

At any age and stage of osteoporosis, a regular weight-bearing exercise program will help you build stronger bones and reduce your falls, so start today!

WANT TO LEARN MORE?

Read these articles to find out more about managing osteoporosis.

References

1 Oden A, et al. Osteoporos Int 2015;26:2243-48.

2 International Osteoporosis Foundation. Facts and statistics. osteoporosis.foundation/facts-statistics.

3 National Osteoporosis Foundation. Healthy bones for life: Patient’s guide. 2014. nof.org.

4 Healthy Bones Australia. Osteopenia and bone health. 2020. healthybonesaustralia.org.au.

5 International Osteoporosis Foundation. Osteoporosis.Risk.Check. riskcheck.osteoporosis.foundation.

6 WebMD. Osteoporosis and menopause. webmd.com/menopause.

7 Siris ES, et al. Arch Intern Med 2004;164:1108–12.