As we reach menopausal age, our oestrogen levels decline and bone density drops. In fact, women can lose up to 20 percent of their bone density after menopause, increasing the risk of osteoporosis (weak bones) and fractures. But fret not – there’s plenty you can do now to make sure you’re caring for your bones, and now is the ideal time to protect them for the years to come. Here are nine easy habits you can start right now:
1. Get Active
An active lifestyle helps to keep your bones strong and healthy. It’s recommended that adults do at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week. Incorporating physical activity into your day could be as easy as a bike ride or a brisk walk in the park. Keep a gym bag in your car packed with workout clothes, a water bottle and Secret Invisible Sprays so you can easily take advantage of an hour of spare time or the nice weather. If you’re concerned about a weak bladder during exercise, try Always Discreet Liners for complete protection and peace of mind.
2. Remember Your Posture
Try to avoid long periods of sitting down. For example, if you work in an office, swap your normal sit-down desk for a stand-up version to keep blood circulating through your legs. Alternatively, if you know you’ll be sitting for a long period of time, set an alarm to go off every hour so you can get up and stretch.
3. Practice Yoga
Yoga not only helps you relax, it also strengthens your muscles, increases flexibility and builds strong bones. For menopausal women it’s especially beneficial, as it can reduce hot flashes by up to a third and can help boost your energy levels.
4. Do Some Strength Training
Resistance exercises using weights and strength equipment will help build up your bone strength. Aim to do these important sessions around twice a week. If you’re not sure which exercises will help the most, consider enlisting a personal trainer for a few sessions.
5. Eat Right
The right diet can make a huge difference to your bones after menopause – and it takes more than milk! Aim to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables per day, and incorporate variety into your menus, from slow-releasing carbohydrates like whole grains, brown rice and oats to lean proteins like fish and chicken.
6. Don’t Forget Calcium
Calcium is an essential mineral for bone development. It can be found in dairy products like milk, cheese and yogurt, as well as nuts, seeds, and green, leafy vegetables. Try to have at least one portion of calcium-rich food per day.
7. Stock up on Vitamin D
Vitamin D is important for bone health because it helps the body absorb calcium. Experts advise that adults should consider taking a vitamin D supplement, especially in winter when there is a lack of sunlight. (Sun exposure helps build up a supply of vitamin D.) Good food sources include eggs, oily fish like salmon or mackerel, or foods fortified with vitamin D, such as cereal.
8. Get Outdoors
Sunshine and fresh air isn’t just good for the soul; it’s good for your vitamin D levels, too! Try and get some sunshine every day – but if you plan to be in the sun for more than 10 minutes, remember to protect your skin with an SPF moisturizer first. Our top pick is Olay ProX Age Repair Lotion with Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 30. It provides lightweight hydration that moisturizes to help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles – all while protecting your skin from the harmful effects of the sun’s UV rays.
9. Ditch Cigarettes and Alcohol
Smoking cigarettes or drinking more than four servings of alcohol a week increases your chances of getting osteoporosis. Try to reduce your alcohol intake, and definitely see your doctor if you’re struggling to quit smoking.