Be kind to your bones

You might think that osteoporosis is something that happens to women after middle-age, and you’d be right – but there’s a way to prevent the onset of bone-loss – and, it starts when you’re a teenager! 

Healthy bones begin in childhood

Your bones grow in size during childhood, gaining strength and mass, and here’s the important part: the amount of bone mass you obtain while you are young, determines your skeletal health for the rest of your life. The more bone mass you have after your teens, the more protection you have against losing bone mass later.

The bone balance

You build up your bones until about age 30, which is when they reach peak bone mass (it can vary from person to person). Up to that point, your body is creating new bone faster, but after age 30, the balance shifts and you lose more bone than you gain.

How to build strong bones

Bone development needs a balanced diet – that means getting enough of the right stuff, like calcium, magnesium and vitamin D. It also needs weight-bearing exercise like:

  • Tennis
  • Squash
  • Dancing
  • Gymnastics
  • Running
  • Hiking
  • Soccer
  • Netball
  • Rugby

Yes – it turns out that all those school sport activities are good for young bones!

Prevention for adults

Other lifestyle factors that can help prevent osteoporosis include:

  • Quit smoking – smoking is associated with an increased risk of osteoporosis
  • Moderate drinking: the recommended daily limit is three to four units of alcohol for men and two to three units for women. Avoid binge drinking
  • Make sure you get enough calcium, magnesium and Vitamin D throughout your life.
  • Exercise regularly, using resistance and high-impact activities.
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