Healthy Aging – Promoting Bone Health in Seniors

Bone health in seniors is one of the most important age-related issues for the over-40 group.

As we age, failing to understand that our bones and muscles demand activities to retain strength, endurance and resistance to life’s many demands can have major consequences. Our bones need continued activities through out our lives.

Starting in childhood until we turn 30, the bones continue to build. After this age, the bones begin to disintegrate. You can actually slow this degeneration process in advance by taking care of your bones in your youth.

How do you do this?

Bone health in seniors is achieved through physical activities, such as regular exercise, in combination with appropriate nutrition.


It was once thought that calcium was the main nutritional element needed, and people would just up their intake of milk or take a calcium supplement to help maintain healthy bones and stave off osteoporosis.

Click here to learn the truth about osteoporosis.

Well, it IS a fact that calcium is very important during our entire life.

One simple way to get calcium is from milk.  Children should drink 2 cups of milk each day and adults 3 cups. However, many of us (including me) are lactose intolerant, but products such as Lactaid, which I use, can help you get around that.  Some people, vegans and others, prefer not to drink milk.  Almond milk and rice milk are also available and often have been fortified with calcium and other nutrients.

Be careful, however.  I just met a woman today whose daughter didn’t make the connection and tried almond milk although she was allergic to almonds.  Fortunately, her face just swelled up, but it could have been worse.

Some feel that calcium in food is better to take than pills because you get more of it in a natural manner and it is in combination with other nutrients.

However, even naturally calcium rich food sources don’t always have the right amounts in them due to the way they have been processed, either, so it may be a good idea to take a calcium supplement as well. Another issue is that we tend to eat rather erratically when it comes to good nutrition, so this also argues in favor of taking some sort of calcium supplement.

If you can get proper amounts of calcium in your body at an early age and keep it there through a lifestyle of proper nutrition and regular exercise, your bones will be in better shape as you age.  If, however, you neglected this in your younger days, it is still not too late to start.

Magnesium, Phosphorous, Vitamin D, Vitamin K, and Boron

Another reason for investing in a supplement for bone health is that, besides calcium, your bones require a mixture of other items such as magnesium. phosphorous. Vitamin D, Vitamin K, boron, and other nutritionals to help your body effectively make use of the calcium you give it.

Vitamin D works in close partnership with calcium, so, to help improve bone health in seniors, we also need to start getting plenty of the “sunshine vitamin” at an early age. While too much exposure to the direct rays of the sun can be dangerous, one of the simplest and most effective ways to get Vitamin D is to let our bodies manufacture it.  As we get older, we have a tendency to stay out of the sun more. Don’t sit in the house all day. You might want to try to get outside and get some sun on your skin, at least for a few minutes a day.

Again, Vitamin D supplements can be valuable but the sun is somewhat more effective and cheap. As little as five to ten minutes of sunshine on your skin each day can help with your Vitamin D levels. Additionally, a litte regular exposure to sunlight helps combat depression and keeps your mood elevated.

On the other hand, the exposure needed for light skinned people to manufacture the Vitamin D they need can be awfully close to the edge of the exposure that increases the risk for skin cancer.  Also, people in the northern hemisphere who live roughly north of Los Angeles, California, probably can not get enough exposure to sunlight for their bodies to manufacture all the Vitamin D they need.

This is another reason why many recommend a Vitamin D supplement in addition to some minimal exposure to sunlight.

By the way, research is showing that Vitamin D, and perhaps calcium as well, do a lot more than just help you maintain healthy bones.  In one study, for example, people taking a vitamin D supplement were 7% less likely to die than those who didn’t take a daily supplement in one study.

We may take healthy bones for granted in our youth but as aging continues into the later years of our life, we have to work a little harder to keep our bones strong.

Bone health at any age can benefit from weight bearing exercises, such as walking, weight lifting, dancing, or even climbing stairs.

Keeping bones strong will also help you survive falls, and falling is one of the leading causes of bone fractures in seniors.

Not only is there the initial injury itself, but the fear of falling again may cause a senior to curtail their activities, which means they get less of that valuable commodity for bone health…exercise.  Also, seniors often take a long time to heal in seniors, and other conditions sometimes arise out of what should have been a minor incident.  These conditions sometimes even result in death.

Seniors, unfortunately, are not the only ones who don’t realize the importance of taking care of our bones. Even as adolescents pass puberty their bones start to decline. This is the downhill side of a lifetime progressiona.  Once a person reaches 50, the bones start to deteriorate, which puts you at high risk of fractures, disease and breakage. As the bones weaken, muscles and joints will also degenerate.

Injuries can then lead to gouty arthritis, arthritis, osteoporosis and so on.

The high-risks of bone fractures are well-charted.  This includes awareness of hip fractures being the most common injury among the elderly. Hip fractures may sound like a minor ordeal, yet the truth is hip fractures are sometimes responsible for deaths of seniors.

Weak bones are avoidable even once you are middle age. It’s never to late to begin to repair or mend our bodies.

Staying fit is an important key to preventing risks of all disease, not just bone diseases. In view of the facts, you want to consider a schedule which includes regular exercise. You want to keep those muscles free to move, since the muscles protect the bones. Stretching workouts and exercise will prevent your joints from feeling stiff as well.

When you exercise you help maintain your weight at a healthy.

As you start to age, body fat increases to more than 30%. This is too much added weight for the muscles, joints and bones. Carrying around this kind of weight on the feet, legs, etc will cause problems later. Maintaining your weight will help prevent and lower your risks of heart disease, bone disease, high-blood pressure, high-cholesterol, diabetes and other risks.

About Donovan Baldwin

I am a 68 year-old fitness fan and freelance writer. I am retired from the U.S. Army after 21 years of service and am a University of West Florida alumnus (BA Accounting 1973). For several years, I have been writing and publishing articles on many subjects with a concentration on health, fitness, exercise, and weight loss.
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