How To Get Stronger Bones
Australian Women’s Weekly NZ|May 2021
Lifestyle choices, weight workouts and your hormones can all impact the risk of osteoporosis. Here’s how to build, and keep, healthy bones.
Brooke Le Poer Trench
It was French pathologist and surgeon Jean Lobstein who coined the term osteoporosis in 1835, but it wasn’t until 1941 that endocrinologist Fuller Albright connected the dots between menopausal women and bone density. And so we began to understand our body as it ages, and how that impacts our bones and life. Today we have oodles of data, bone-building medication and can even take a real-time snapshot of how many grams of calcium and minerals are packed into our bones, and yet we still have far to go; make no bones about it (sorry, first and last pun).

You’ve likely read the stats, but they bear repeating: Half of all women and one-third of men over 60 are affected by osteoporosis, as well as some younger people. Adding to the complexity, this is a disease without symptoms (until a fall from standing height causes a fracture), meaning that it’s believed many suffering with osteoporosis will go undiagnosed and untreated.

We have a mindset problem too: osteoporosis is more common than breast and cervical cancer combined, and yet studies reveal many don’t actually believe they’re at risk. The good news? “It’s never too late to get your bone health back on track,” says Dr Ginni Mansberg. Here’s what we know about how to protect and improve bone health today.

Make good choices

Chalk this up as just another one of many (many) reasons to stop smoking. “Men and women who don’t smoke have better bone health, and we know that quitting smoking can help improve your bone density,” says endocrinologist Frances Milat, Adjunct Associate Professor at the School of Clinical Sciences at Monash University. And there’s this too: “Reducing your alcohol intake to recommended levels is good for your general health as well as your bones.”

Eat foods that protect you

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