Bones become so fragile, explains McCleary: “A fracture can be caused by minimal trauma. Subsequent fractures can occur with little provocation. A person with severe osteoporosis may break a bone just by moving wrong or sneezing.”
Here are five tips for preventing the bone-degenerating disease:
1. Weight-Bearing Exercise
To stop osteoporosis in its tracks, you have to stay active. Specifically, you have to pound the pavement. “Do weight-bearing exercises, like walking or jogging instead of riding a bike,” Jampolis says. “You want to stress the bones as much as you can to make them stronger. Strength training is also essential.”
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Think of it as food for your bones: It’s necessary to keep them strong and healthy, so be sure to drink your milk. “Calcium—anyone over the age of 2 needs to think about getting it in their diet,” says Heller. “We all know about it, but I can’t stress it enough. If you’re lactose-intolerant, try fortified soy milk or orange juice and green vegetables.” You need between 1,000 to 1,200 milligrams of calcium every day, depending on your age, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation.
3. Vitamin D
If calcium is the bone’s food, vitamin D is the mouth by which your bones are fed. This nutrient helps bones absorb calcium—but lots of people don't have enough of it. “Your body is designed to get vitamin D from the sun, so there’s not a lot of it in food,” Heller says. “Problem is, the sunlight’s not strong enough in the winter, and in the summer we often wear sunscreen."