Have you ever seen a little old woman all stooped over with age? The curved back that causes a decrease in height? The manifestation of osteoporosis that’s typically called a dowager’s hump? I have. In fact, my great grandmother, my grandmother, and my father were hunchbacked. But getting older doesn’t mean we have to settle for the “typical” aging problems. Some of the osteoporotic changes seen with aging can be prevented or greatly reduced. Here’s how to take your health in your own hands and slow or even stop the progression of osteoporosis.
1) Get enough exercise
As a mother with young children, this can be hard. And no, I don’t get enough exercise unless you’re talking about walking to and from the pantry while cooking supper, folding clothes, or vacuuming. But seriously, weight bearing exercise can be as easy as a brisk walk. So when I want to take something to a neighbor around the corner, I walk. It’s not an exhaustive workout, but it’s something.
To see 6 more weight bearing exercises that can help prevent osteoporosis, click here.
2) Good posture and strengthening your back muscles
Unlike my grandmother, who slept on her back on a board because she thought it would prevent the dreaded hump, you can work on maintaining good posture and strengthening your back muscles. Whenever I think of good posture, I think of women in corsets standing straight as a board. Who knew that stiff posture would be of benefit to beating osteoporosis? And like my mama always told me, Stand up straight! Shoulders back!
One way to determine if you need to strengthen your back muscles is to stand with your back against the wall (shoulder blades touching the wall) and sing Happy Birthday. If you can’t hold this position that long, you need to strengthen your back muscles. There are several ways to strengthen your back muscles. You can use weights, you can do yoga, or you can just use a pillow at home. To see ways to strengthen your spine using only a pillow, click here.
3) Calcium and Vitamin D
If you haven’t heard, calcium and vitamin D are your friends! Calcium is necessary for strong bones. That’s why we drink milk. But with milk being replaced with soft drinks, the amount of calcium we’re actually taking into our bodies has decreased over the years. One way to get the recommended daily allowance of calcium is to use a calcium supplement.
What about vitamin D? Vitamin D is necessary for the absorption of calcium in the body. Getting out in the sun lets your body produce vitamin D naturally. Adding vitamin D to milk ensures you’re getting calcium and vitamin D at the same time. Taking a supplement with both calcium and vitamin D in it also ensures you’re getting the calcium for your bones and the vitamin D to help make it work.
My great grandmother was from Sweden and my grandmother lived in Canada and New England—not the sunshine capitals of the world. I wonder if things would have turned out differently for them if they had taken calcium and vitamin D supplements.
Adequate calcium and vitamin D throughout life, as part of a well-balanced diet, may reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Getting your daily calcium and vitamin D needs has never been easier. Each individual packet of Cal-EZ contains 1,000 mg of elemental calcium and 1,000 IU of vitamin D3 in a powder. Simply mix one packet of Cal-EZ into your favorite beverage or soft food. No need to take 3 or more large chalky pills. You can get a free Calcium Tip Sheet from Cal-EZ.