Building healthy bones

Woman Drinking Glass of Milk

Although health-conscious women tend to focus their attention on weight gain or loss, they shouldn’t neglect another important issue: bone health. Remember that your bones:

  • Provide structure
  • Protect organs
  • Anchor muscles
  • Store calcium
  • Make blood cells

Building healthy bones should start early, since a person with a high bone mass as a young adult will be more likely to have a higher bone mass later in life. “Peak bone mass” refers to your genetic potential for bone density. A sharp decline in bone mass occurs in older adults, especially in women after menopause.

Osteoporosis — “porous bone” disease — results from the deterioration of bone tissue, leading to an increased risk of bone fractures. In addition to older women, high-risk groups include Caucasian adults who are small in body size and physically inactive or whose diet is low in calcium.

Feed your bones
A diet rich in calcium and vitamin D is the first step toward building healthy bones. Good sources include:

  • Dairy products (especially milk, yogurt and cheese)
  • Dark green leafy vegetables
  • Calcium-fortified foods (e.g., orange juice, cereal, bread, tofu)
  • Salmon and sardines
  • Nuts and seeds

Those jumpin’ bones
Diet alone can’t ensure healthy bones. Regular weight-bearing exercise is also essential. Adults should participate in 30 minutes of moderate physical activity as many days of the week as possible. Excellent weight-bearing activities (most of which are also enjoyable) include:

  • Walking, jogging, running
  • Jumping rope
  • Basketball
  • Soccer
  • Hiking
  • Stair climbing
  • Weight-lifting
  • Tennis or racquetball
  • Dancing

Taking care of your bones will enable you to remain active and energetic even during your retirement years. Healthy habits today will definitely pay off in the future!


It's never too early to start thinking about your bone and joint health. Join us for “Maintaining Bone Health as We Age” on Tuesday, Oct. 22 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Tristan D. Blackburn, M.D. will discuss ways to prevent osteoporosis and maintain healthy bones as we age. Dr. Blackburn specializes in rheumatology and promotes a multidisciplinary approach to managing bone health to help patients live life to the fullest. Register now.

For more on building healthy bones, watch our Bone Health and Nutrition playlist with Janet Dishion, PhD, RD/CN, IBCLC, nutritionist at Norton Healthcare.