Get healthy and stay healthy!
About one in three people aged over 65 years, and half of the people aged 80 and over fall each year in the UK. A fall later in life can cause distress, pain, injury, loss of confidence and independence. Making sure we do all we can to ensure our bones are healthy means we could potentially minimise the impact of a fall.
Get out and About
Our bone health is largely influenced by your genes, but simple changes to your lifestyle can make a difference, too. Weight-bearing exercise, where your legs and feet support your weight, can strengthen your bones. This could include walking, jogging or tennis.
It’s recommended we walk on average 20 minutes a day to notice a difference in our lifestyle. Or, if you’re feeling energetic, you could join in on the 10,000 step program that lots of people have adopted. While there is no scientific truth in it, the aim is to take 10,000 steps a day, and this includes walking around your house too!
You could monitor your steps with a pedometer, or your smartphone may have this built in, so it’s worth checking.
Eating a healthy diet
Eat a healthy diet with plenty of calcium-rich foods, such as reduced-fat dairy products, says the NHS. Good sources include:
- green leafy vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage and okra, but not spinach
- soya beans
- soya drinks with added calcium
- Cheese, Milk and other Dairy products
- bread and anything made with fortified flour
- fish such as sardines and pilchards
Regular exposure to the sun helps you get enough vitamin D. Try to go outside every day from May to September without sunscreen for around 10 minutes but don’t let your skin redden or burn.
Our NHS has some great tips for building good bone health, calling it a bit like starting a pension. “A bit hard to get excited about when you are young, but the sooner you start, the better”.
If you think you could be at risk of not getting enough vitamin D, particularly if you’re housebound or cover your skin for cultural reasons, speak to your GP, who might recommend a vitamin D supplement.
Age UK, has lots of helpful advice and tips on good bone health, including forms you can download. Visit them on their website, Age UK.