5 ways to strengthen your bones and improve your general health by Dr Laura & Dr Katie.

You’ve probably heard that women experience bone loss during the menopause. It’s true. Figures show that one in two women over the age of 50 will break a bone due to weakness.

Our bones naturally break down and rebuild themselves every day. Oestrogen helps to keep bone density stable and maintain bone strength. As a result of falling levels of oestrogen during the menopause transition, women are therefore at an increased risk of developing Osteoporosis – where bones are thin, weakened and easily broken.

You cannot see or feel your bones getting thinner, so many people are unaware of any problems until they break a bone or start to lose height!

The way we live our life plays an important part in keeping our bones strong and reduces the risk of developing osteoporosis. Here are 5 tips to consider to support your bone health through the menopause and beyond:

#1 NUTRITION IS KEY

A healthy balanced diet containing a wide range of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, seeds, nuts and lean protein will provide all the nutrients required for optimal bone health and reduce excessive bone loss during the menopause. Try to avoid processed foods and instead choose whole foods in their natural form. Ensuring adequate calcium intake is essential for healthy bones – good sources include milk, cheese and yogurt. Leafy green vegetables, broccoli, beans and nuts are also excellent sources of calcium but are often overlooked.

Vitamin D is important to help regulate the way your body uses calcium. You can get vitamin D from sunlight exposure and a small amount from dietary sources. The current UK recommendation is for all adults to take a Vitamin D supplement daily from October through to March.

#2 EXERCISE REGULARLY

To strengthen bones, try regular weight bearing exercise like walking, jogging, aerobics, dancing or tennis. Building muscle mass using weights or resistance bands also helps to improve bone density, as does yoga and pilates.

#3 SMOKING AND ALCOHOL INTAKE

Smoking and excess alcohol consumption both contribute to reduced bone density. In order to protect your bones, it is therefore important to stop smoking and limit your alcohol intake.

#4 BALANCING YOUR HORMONES

As oestrogen plays such an important role in maintaining bone density, increasing oestrogen levels with Hormone Replacement Therapy significantly reduces the risk of developing Osteoporosis.

#5 REDUCING PHYSICAL AND EMOTIONAL STRESS

Stress causes us to release higher levels of the hormone cortisol, which has a detrimental effect on our bones. Therefore it is essential to incorporate stress reduction into our lives. Keeping active is also effective at reducing stress.

Menopause is a time for many women to rethink their roles and their lives in general. Why not use this ‘window of opportunity’ to improve not only your bone health, but your health overall? By implementing some, or all, of the lifestyle suggestions above, you will help provide yourself with a solid foundation for a long and active life.

Find out more here!