Weak and brittle bones are not just a disease of old, elderly people. Bones are living tissues that can rebuild themselves. Bone-building processes take place until about our thirties, after which the processes of bone breakdown predominate.
To keep our skeleton healthy for a long time, we need calcium, a mineral that keeps our skeleton dense and strong. If we don’t have enough calcium in our bodies, the body extracts it from our bones. If too much calcium is extracted, we are at risk of developing osteoporosis, which increases the risk of falls and fractures. The best way to get calcium into your body is from food, most notably through regular consumption of dairy products, milk, salmon and beans.
We also need vitamin D to maintain healthy bones, which works closely with calcium. Without vitamin D we cannot use the calcium we get from food. This forces the body to get these nutrients from the bones, which also weakens the bones and prevents them from staying healthy for long.
Vitamin D is produced in our bodies mainly by sunlight, but we can also get it from food, most notably fish, almonds, eggs, soya and mushrooms.
We owe a lot to regular exercise, including not having to worry about bone loss. Regular exercise also helps to strengthen muscles, which helps to increase balance and improve coordination. These all help to prevent falls and reduce the risk of bone fractures. There are many different forms of exercise to strengthen our bones, such as walking, hiking, dancing, stair climbing and running.
We also need strength training to keep our bones and muscles strong enough. This could be push-ups, weight lifting or rowing.
Smoking is very unhealthy. Not least, the chemicals in tobacco smoke slow down the production of bone-forming cells and prevent the bones from receiving a proper blood supply, which results in nothing less than bone fragility.