6 Steps to Healthy Bones in Menopause

During menopause, decreased estrogen production puts you at risk for osteoporosis. Early natural menopause and surgical menopause (before age 40) can increase your risk even further. It’s important to keep your bones healthy to minimize your fracture risk. Here are 6 ways to maintain bone health and reduce your chance of injury during and after the change:

  1. Weight-bearing exercises build strength, resilience, and flexibility and stimulate the cells in your body that make new bone tissue. Some of the best weight-bearing exercises in menopause include tai chi, yoga, hiking, dance, and golf. Even brisk walking for 30 minutes per day can make a big difference in improving your bone strength and reducing your chance of falls and fractures.

  1. Strength/resistance training - Using weight machines, free weights, or your own body weight, work against resistance to strengthen a specific sequence of muscles and bones. Resistance training also increases overall flexibility and strength, reducing your risk of injury-causing falls. A personal trainer can tailor a workout to your specific needs.

  1. Maintain adequate levels of calcium and vitamin D. Calcium is crucial to maintaining strong bones. If your body is deficient of calcium, it will break down your bones to replenish your calcium levels. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium into your bloodstream. Eat a diet rich in calcium with foods like low-fat dairy products, dark leafy greens like collard and spinach, canned fish with bones, and fortified juices. Good sources of Vitamin D are fortified orange juices and dairy products and canned or fresh fish. Talk to your medical practitioner about Calcium and Vitamin D supplements.

  1. Get outside! Spending time outside can have many benefits for your bone and overall health. Spending time with friends while gardening, walking, cycling, hiking, racquet sports, and golfing will improve your overall fitness and mood. Your body will obtain Vitamin D from spending time in the sun (don’t forget the sunscreen!).  Make a habit of spending time with friends outside and your bones will thank you.

  1. Break bad habits - Consuming excess alcohol and cigarette smoking both contribute to bone loss as well as overall poor health. Smoking cigarettes reduces the effectiveness of estrogen and doubles your fracture risk. Do your body a favor – Limit alcohol intake to less than 2 drinks per day, and quit smoking completely!

  1. Osteoporosis medications are available to help maintain or build bones for women who are at high risk. Talk to your medical practitioner about whether these are right for you.

By maintaining your bone and overall health, you can make your journey into menopause and beyond as smooth as possible and continue to enjoy all that life has to offer!



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