How Women Can Build Greater Bone Density As They Age

Bone density is a topic women should be concerned about as they become older because bones lose density with age. Less dense bones become weak, and that makes them more prone to breaking and developing osteoporosis, per Medline Plus. Certain habits, such as smoking and drinking alcohol, can make bones weaker. In addition, medical conditions like arthritis and diabetes can lead to bone loss. That said, there are things women can do to help build bone density as they age.

Exercise is critical for preventing bone loss and osteoporosis, and the National Institutes of Health Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases states that strength training and weight-bearing activities are the best kinds of bone-building exercises for women. Examples of these kinds of exercises include lifting weights, walking, jogging, hiking, and climbing stairs. To get the most benefits of exercise for bone strength, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommends 30 minutes of weight-bearing exercises four or more days per week.

Get enough calcium and Vitamin D

Calcium is critical for bone strength. WebMD reports that your body needs calcium for certain functions and if it is low, it will take it from your bones if it needs to. The Mayo Clinic suggests women over 50 should aim for 1,200 milligrams of calcium per day. Many fortified dairy products, including yogurt and milk, contain calcium, per Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Leafy greens, tofu, and sardines also contain calcium.

Along with calcium, women also need Vitamin D to help build bone density. Part of the reason why is because vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium (via National Institutes of Health). Women up to 70 years of age need 15 micrograms of Vitamin D daily, and that number increases to 20 for women over 70. A good way to get vitamin D is to spend time outside. That said, many foods, like milk and cereals, are fortified with it. Egg yolks, salmon, beef liver, and cod liver oil also contain the nutrient, per Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.