As we age our bone density decreases, making it easier to break a bone if we have a fall or an accident. Seniors who maintain good bone health can often reduce the chance they’ll break a bone if they fall or are otherwise injured. Strong bones also mean you’re less likely to end up in the hospital as the result of a fall.
So, how can you work towards improving bone strength?
A two-pronged approach to strong bones consists of good nutrition and daily exercise.
Healthy Bones at Any Age
Here’s what you should know about building healthy bones.
Get Your Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a nutrient important for building strong bones. Older adults are sometimes prone to deficiencies in vitamin D for numerous reasons. So it’s essential to consider diet, supplements, and exposure to sunlight in building healthier bones.
For seniors in Michigan, vitamin D can be especially hard to come by during our long winters. That’s why you’ll want to talk to your doctor about supplements and about which foods are rich in vitamin D. Eggs and soy are a few examples.
Get Plenty of Exercise
Weight-bearing exercises can increase bone strength. Check your local YMCA or senior center or, if you reside in a senior living community, check the weekly calendar for your fitness options. Of course, always talk with your doctor before beginning a new fitness routine.
Weight-bearing Activities for Older Adults
When it comes weight-bearing exercises for seniors, there are a variety of options from which to choose including:
- Fitness Walking. Walking is wonderful exercise at any age because it offers so many benefits. For strong bones, try to keep your pace brisk. It’s referred to as ‘fitness walking’. Whatever pace you choose, know that walking is one of the healthiest ways to spend your time!
- Yoga. A number of studies provide evidence that yoga is great for the bones. It builds bone density, improves balance and increases flexibility. And don’t let worries about not being flexible keep you from giving yoga a try. The great thing about this gentle form of exercise is that everyone can progress at his or her own pace.
- Tai Chi. You may have noticed people of all ages performing Tai Chi in a local park. It’s become a widely accepted way to build coordination and improve bone strength. What is Tai Chi? Basically, it’s a series of poses you move between in a fluid way, very slowly. Some studies show that you may even slow the rate of bone loss by practicing Tai Chi.
- Strength Training. Yep, hitting the gym is good for developing strong bones! If you don’t know how to use the weight machines at your local gym or health club, consult with the staff. They’re trained to help you. Better yet, if your budget permits, hire a personal trainer who’s schooled in the ways of helping older adults strengthen their bones through weight training. Senior living communities usually have someone on staff trained to help residents use the on-site gym.
- Dancing. If the gym isn’t your cup of tea, maybe dancing is your style? Whatever form of dancing you enjoy, head out on the dance floor and get moving! Or take a class and learn a new form of dancing. Never learned to Tango? Now’s the time! Classes have the added benefit of providing a social outlet, so you’re more likely to make new friends and have fun!
Beyond Strong Bones: Heritage Supports Fitness for Healthy Living!
At Heritage Senior Living communities, we care for and serve our residents holistically. That means we’re concerned not just about basic daily needs, but also about the physical, mental, and spiritual aspect of living. We want our residents to thrive!
You’ll find plenty of fitness options in each of our Michigan and Indiana communities. To learn more about our exercise programs, call us or come visit for a tour of our grounds.