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Protect Your Bone Health!

From Healthfinder.gov:

Take Action!

Take these steps to protect your bone health.

Schedule a bone density test. 
Ask your doctor if you are at risk for osteoporosis. Find out when to start getting your bone density tested.

Print these questions for your doctor about preventing osteoporosis. Take them to your next checkup.

What about cost?
Screening for osteoporosis is covered under the Affordable Care Act, the health care reform law passed in 2010. Depending on your insurance plan, you may be able to get screened at no cost to you.

For information about other services covered by the Affordable Care Act, visit HealthCare.gov.

Get enough calcium.
Calcium helps keep your bones strong. Use this calcium shopping list to help you find foods high in calcium, like:

  • Low-fat or fat-free milk, cheese, and yogurt
  • Almonds
  • Broccoli and greens
  • Tofu with added calcium
  • Orange juice with added calcium
  • Calcium pills

Get enough vitamin D.
Vitamin D helps your body use calcium. Both vitamin D and calcium are needed for strong bones.

Your body makes vitamin D when you are out in the sun. You can also get vitamin D from:

  • Salmon or tuna
  • Fat-free or low-fat milk with added vitamin D
  • Some breakfast cereals, juices, and yogurt with added vitamin D
  • Vitamin D pills

Find out how much calcium and vitamin D you need each day.

Stay away from cigarettes and alcohol.
Cigarettes and alcohol can weaken your bones.

Lower your risk of falling.
You can make small changes to help prevent falls. Falls can be especially serious for people with weak bones.

Get active.
Physical activity can help slow down bone loss.

  • Aim for 2 hours and 30 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity. If you are new to exercise, start with 10 minutes of activity at a time.
  • Do strengthening activities at least 2 days a week. These include lifting weights or using resistance bands (long rubber strips that stretch).
  • Find an exercise buddy. You will be more likely to stick with it if you exercise with a friend.

If you have a health condition, be as active as you can be. Your doctor can help you choose the best activities for you.

Use these tips to help you stay active as you get older.

Find an activity that works for you.
Check with your local senior center or community center to find fun, low-cost or free exercise options. Find healthy activities that you enjoy [PDF – 881 KB]. Try something new, like:

  • Aerobics
  • Tai chi (“ty chee”) – A Chinese mind-body exercise that involves moving slowly and gently
  • Yoga
  • Weight training
  • Walking with friends on a regular basis