Aging & Health A to Z
Lifestyle & Management
Diet, Exercise, and Sun Exposure
To maintain strong healthy bones, follow the steps for osteoporosis prevention described in the Care and Treatment section. Maintain a healthy diet with a lot of foods high in calcium. Make a habit of participating in regular bone-building exercise. Get plenty of vitamin D, both through diet and safe sun exposure. (It is important to balance the need for sun exposure for vitamin D, while at the same time avoiding the risk of skin damage. About fifteen minutes of exposure on the arms and legs a few times a week can generate the amount of vitamin D our bodies need). Take dietary calcium and vitamin D supplements if needed. If you are taking medications, make sure to follow your healthcare provider’s directions.
Your healthcare provider can use the DXA scan procedure to tell how well your bones are responding to treatments with medication and the changes you’ve made to your lifestyle. Regular scans to assess your BMD will determine your rate of bone loss, and how well your treatments are working. Usually, your BMD will be monitored every year or two by DXA.
To keep the risk of fractures as low as possible, you must reduce your risk of falling as much as possible. This can be accomplished by following the strategies listed below:
- Follow an exercise program that includes strength and balance activities and gait training
- Avoid medicines that make you sleepy
- Make sure your blood pressure is checked regularly
- Remove household clutter and tripping hazards
- Make sure your house is well lit
- Have your hearing checked and use hearing aids if necessary
- Keep your eyes healthy and make sure your vision is good. Your eyeglasses should have the correct prescription, cataracts should be treated if necessary, and you should have regular visits to the eye doctor. Avoid wearing bifocal lenses when walking on stairs.
- Wear safe, comfortable, well-fitting shoes
- Eat a healthy diet
- Drink plenty of fluids; don’t let yourself get dehydrated
- Avoiding walking alone on icy days
- Install grab bars in the bathtub, in hallways, and on stairs when needed
- Use a cane or other assistive device if needed, and work with your healthcare provider to learn how to use them properly.
Updated: November 2017
Posted: March 2012