Give your bones some love in light of World Osteoporosis Day (Oct 20). By Dawn Chen
Fight osteoporosis by strengthening your bones. Photo: Brigitte Sporrer/Cultura/Corbis
According to the Osteoporosis Society of Singapore, the word ‘osteoporosis’ literally means ‘porous bones’. Since our skeleton is what holds our body upright, having brittle bones is definitely a bad idea. The good news is, you can continue building up your bones no matter your age, since our skeleton constantly loses old bone mass and forms new bone mass.
The Health Promotion Board (HPB) says that women are more prone to getting osteoporosis than men, and we can lose up to 20 per cent of our bone mass especially after menopause. This is because the hormone oestrogren protects bones. Despite the odds, you can still have strong, healthy bones. Just follow these tips!
1. Get enough calcium
It’s no secret that getting enough calcium is essential for building healthy bones, teeth and gums. The recommended dietary allowance for adults 19-50 years of age is 800mg of calcium, says the HPB. That increases to 1,000mg for those 51 years of age and above. Though we naturally lose calcium in bodily excretions (such as sweat) or when we shed hair and skin, calcium can easily be replaced through food. Calcium-rich food includes cheese, yoghurt, canned sardines and cooked kai lan (surprise, surprise!), among other things. For more ideas on what to eat, click here. You can also boost your calcium intake with a calcium supplement. Opt for a natural calcium supplement like Omical ($31.90 for 60 tablets, leading pharmacies), a pure milk mineral complex in a tablet form that’s made from organic milk.
2. Get enough vitamin D
Vitamin D is also essential for proper calcium absorption, so be sure to get enough too. An easy way to up your vitamin D level is to get short daily periods of sun exposure (think taking a walk out to lunch and back). Just remember to always wear sunscreen!
3. Do weight-bearing exercises
Here’s another reason to love exercise: it’s good for your bones too! According to the HPB, weight-bearing exercises (ones that make you move against gravity) help to both build and maintain bone density. Some activities to try include tai chi, brisk walking, dancing, jogging and aerobics. Jumping is another good way to increase bone density. A recent study published in the American Journal of Health Promotion found that premenopausal women who jumped 10 times twice daily (with 30 seconds rest between jumps) increased their bone density over just four months.