Prevent Osteoporosis: 5 Ways to Build Healthy Bones (And Keep Them Strong)

It’s too late to start chugging down 10 servings of Anlene a day after you’ve had your first painful fracture thanks to osteoporosis. You may shrug it off now, but the joke’s on you when your bones become so weak and fragile that even a tap on your shoulder could cause it to fracture.

The good news?

You can take steps to prevent it. And we’ve all been taught, since we were wee little kids, that prevention is ALWAYS better than cure (especially when there isn’t a complete cure for osteoporosis).

Making some changes in your lifestyle today could help reduce your chances of developing osteoporosis.

Here’s your action plan to keep osteoporosis at bay:

1. Start working out

  • High-impact exercise, where you support your own weight, is best for strengthening bones.
  • The National Osteoporosis Society recommends jogging, aerobics, tennis, weight-training, dancing and brisk walking.
  • If you aren’t used to exercising, build up your exercise routine gradually. Talk to your doctor before you start a new exercise routine.

2. Quit smoking and drink less alcohol

Smoking can have a harmful effect on your bone strength and can also cause an early menopause. You should also be careful not to drink too much alcohol.

3. Chow down on more calcium

  • Calcium intake is positively correlated to bone mass at all ages.
  • A sustained high calcium intake in children and adolescents is associated with higher peak bone mass.
  • The current calcium intake in the Malaysian diet is between 300-500 mg daily. The recommended total daily calcium intake is shown in Table 3 below.
  • Three glasses of milk per day should get you there. Don’t like milk? Try hard cheese, or yogurt.


4. Try supplements if you are calcium deficient

  • When the diet is calcium deficient, calcium may be given in the form of supplements.
  • The absorption of calcium supplements is highly variable ranging from 20-40%, depending on the formulation (see Table 4 below).
  • It is postulated that calcium supplements should be ingested in small divided doses and taken after meals (except calcium carbonate, which should be taken with meals).


5. Dance in the sun

  • You should get out in the sun for more than 15 minutes per day to soak up the right amount of vitamin D (this helps your body absorb calcium better).
  • Elderly who are institutionalised, immobile, lack outdoor activities and have a poor regular diet will benefit from daily supplementation of 800 IU Vitamin D.

Learn more about osteoporosis so you can prevent the disease and see the 6 superfoods you can consume to build stronger bones.


 How else do you keep your bones healthy? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page!


Edited by: The HealthWorks Team
1. Chapuy MC, Arlot ME, Duboeuf F et al. Vitamin D3 and calcium to prevent hip fractures in elderly women. N Engl J Med 1992; 327(23):1637-42.
2. Dawson-Hughes B, Harris SS, Krall EA, et al. Effect of Ca and vitamin D supplementation on bone density in men and women 65 years of age or older. N Engl J med. 1997; 337:670-676.
3. Chee SS, Ismail M. N, Ng KK and Zawiah H. Food intake assessment of adults in rural and urban areas from four selected regions in Malaysia. Mal J Nutr 1997; 3(2):91-102.
4. RNI for Malaysia 2005.
5. Chapuy MC, Arlot ME, Duboeuf F et al. Vitamin D3 and calcium to prevent hip fractures in elderly women. N Engl J Med 1992; 327(23):1637-42.
6. Levinson, D.I. & Bockman, R.S. A review of calcium preparations. Nutr Rev. 1994; 52(7): 221-232.
7. Physician’s Guide to Prevention and Treatment of Osteoporosis: National Osteoporosis Foundation 1999.
8. Lee JK, Khir ASM. Incidence of hip fracture in Malaysian above 50 years of age – variation in different ethnic groups.

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