Osteoporosis can affect any bone in your body, and the most common trouble spots are wrists, spines, and hips. As the population grows older, the condition is becoming more widespread.
When you have osteoporosis, your bones become thinner and more brittle. It usually develops over time, and the symptoms may be invisible until a bone breaks.
Use this quick guide to strengthen your bones and lower your risks for osteoporosis.
Caring for Your Wrists
A broken wrist is often an early signs of osteoporosis. That is especially true if the injury was caused by only minor force.
1. Adopt a neutral position. Practice holding your wrists flat rather than letting them bend backward while typing or lifting objects. This will guard against carpal tunnel syndrome and related injuries.
2. Wring a towel. In addition to dumbbell exercises, there are some moves you can do anywhere to condition your wrists. Grab a towel by each end and twist it tightly.
3. Squeeze a ball. Another option is holding a ball in your palm and squeezing it with your fingers. Point your middle finger towards the center of your wrist to minimize joint stress.
Caring for Your Spine
Almost 700,000 people a year experience vertebral compression fractures, and there may be no noticeable discomfort. These injuries are almost twice as common as broken hips or wrists.
1. Watch for warning signs. You can spot compression fractures if you know what to look for. Symptoms include sudden loss of height, difficulty breathing, a protruding stomach, and soreness in your lower back.
2. Work your abs. Firming up your abdominal muscles takes a load off your back. Engage your abs during workouts and daily tasks like carrying groceries.
3. Use caution bending forward. If you already have osteoporosis, bending forward can contribute to spine and hip fractures. Your doctor may recommend you use a pick-up cane so you can clean house and pick up your keys while standing up.
Caring for Your Hips
Broken hips can trigger long term health issues and interfere with independent living. More than 95% of hip fractures are caused by falling, according to the CDC.
1. Enhance your balance. There are many ways to increase your balance and coordination. Sign up for Tai Chi or yoga classes. Take turns standing on one leg at a time. Keep your eyeglass prescription updated and play it safe with medications that make you drowsy.
2. Strengthen your legs. Powerful legs can help you stay on your feet. Train them with squats, lunges, and calf raises.
3. Refit your home. Modify your home with safety in mind. Install grab bars in the bathroom, and extra lights in the back yard. Ensure that each stairway has secure rails on both sides.
While genetics determine most of your risk factors for osteoporosis, prompt medical treatment and lifestyle changes can make a big difference.
1. Talk with your doctor. Your doctor can screen you to assess your individual situation. Then, your health team will be able to help you manage your risk factors and design a safe exercise program.
2. Eat foods rich in calcium. Calcium and Vitamin D are two important nutrients for your bones. Include dairy products and fortified breakfast cereal in your diet.
3. Intensify your workouts. Walking is good for your posture and your heart, but more challenging activities are required if you want to add to your bone mass. Train for strength by gradually and safely increasing the amount of weight you use.
Fighting osteoporosis can help you to live longer and more independently in your golden years. Work with your doctor to take care of your bones by building up their strength and density with targeted exercises and healthy lifestyle choices.