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  • Writer's pictureTaruna Rijhwani

Top 5 Lifestyle Changes to Optimize Bone & Joint Health in Active Seniors

health and active seniors

Here are the top 5 recommended lifestyle changes to help you optimize bone & joint health in Active Seniors:

1. Weight Bearing Exercises:

Studies have shown that regular weight bearing exercises like walking, hiking, climbing stairs, or low impact aerobics can help improve, or at least maintain, bone density in women. This helps ensure that bone density measurements do not drop between yearly check-ups.

2. Strength Training:

Strength training that starts at the right level, that is, with functional movements, can help maintain and improve bone density.

I have had many patients who were able to improve their bone density measurements by working on a well-designed and regimented strength training program over the course of a year.

Strength training exercises can involve functional movements like squats and lunges at varying levels of resistance and variations. If you already have osteoporosis, caution is necessary: you are already prone to stress fractures and too much weight, or even the incorrect form, could result in an injury. Working with a professional who understands your condition is imperative. The risk of a stress fracture is just not worth it.

3. Healthy Eating Habits

Eating a well-nourished diet is vital. It needs to be rich in calcium and vitamin D, all so that it can play a role in supplementing bone and joint health. However, in some cases it is the absorption of these nutrients that is limited, thereby impacting their bioavailability, that is, how much the body can utilize.

In general, including more fruits and vegetables in your routine will also start to make a big difference. Eating ‘real food’ filled with nutrients as opposed to processed or junk food is the best strategy.

4. Maintaining a Healthy Body Composition

Having a healthy body composition is key to minimizing the decline of bone mass and mineral density, as it reduces the impact and wear and tear on joints and bones.

I use the term ‘body composition’ and not body weight for a reason; the latter is just too generalized. Some people might have a bigger stature and therefore weigh more, while others could be petite and weigh less. So, relying solely on body weight as a measure of health is inaccurate and may not lead to healthy body changes.

It is perfectly fine to use body weight as a guideline, as it can be easily measured at home. But please do consider other factors like your physique when evaluating that number. Your Body Mass Index, that is, fat composition, may be a more accurate measure despite the difficulty in acquiring it.

5. Minimize the Risk of Falls

If you have a clinical diagnosis of osteopenia or osteoporosis, then it is always best to take appropriate fall avoidance measures. As I mentioned earlier, the chances of stress fractures with a fall are high if you have osteoporosis and the impact on your overall mobility can be huge. So, not taking appropriate precautions is not worth the risk.

Some of these precautionary measures include the following:

  • Making sure your home is free of clutter

  • Wearing appropriate footwear when going outdoors

  • Using a cane or walker if necessary

  • Holding on to the rails when going up or down stairs

  • Avoiding slippery surfaces etc.

These small changes may save you from the impact of a fall and the potential risks that follow.

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