A healthy skeletal system reduces risk of bone damage throughout life and fends off osteoporosis. Osteoporosis results in bones that are brittle and prone to fracture. According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, steps to prevent bone loss are possible at any age. Maintaining a healthy skeletal system results in various health benefits and is accomplished through diet and exercise.
Osteoporosis is most prevalent in older adults and most common in females with small bone structure. Women make up 80 percent of all osteoporosis cases in the United States. Osteopenia, the occurrence of reduced bone mass, is a precursor to Osteoporosis. Anorexia, heavy alcohol use, smoking, low activity level and reduced estrogen levels contribute to your likelihood of developing reduced bone mass. According to the Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases National Resource Center, one out of every two women and one in four men over age 50 will break a bone in their lifetime due to osteoporosis. Because osteoporosis runs in families, preventative measures are extra important for those with osteoporosis in their family history.
Adequate calcium and vitamin D promotes healthy bones. Good sources of calcium include low fat milk, yogurt and cheese or foods fortified with calcium. The body uses sunlight to produce vitamin D, and people with vitamin D deficiency can supplement with vitamin D pills. Age-specific daily recommendations state that an adult between the age of 19 and 50 should have 1,000 mg of calcium and 200 international units of vitamin D per day. Eight ounces of plain low fat yogurt provides 448 mg of calcium while 1 oz. of part skim mozzarella contains 219 mg. Calcium and vitamin D are best obtained from natural sources. Consult your doctor before adding a supplement to your diet.
Bone is a living tissue that breaks down and rebuilds stronger with weight bearing exercise. Leading an active lifestyle ensures that your bones are strong and injury resistant. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons defines weight bearing activity as an exercise done on your feet that works your bones and muscles against gravity. Recommendations include hiking, brisk walking, team sports, yard work and resistance training. With a wide variety of options it is up to you to find an enjoyed activity that fits into your lifestyle.
Ways to Keep the Skeletal System Healthy