Calcium, exercise keep old bones strong

September 13th, 2008 - 1:26 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Sep 13 (IANS) Bones become brittle with age, but a calcium rich diet combined with some exercise can go a long way to strengthen them, even after 70 years.”Older people in particular are often not getting enough calcium,” according to Peter Sawicki, director of the German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care.

Exercise too protects bones and might help reduce the risk of falling. Some believe that they can best protect themselves minimising movement and avoiding situations where they might have a chance of falling.

But being too immobile is one of the major risk factors for osteoporosis. If you spend a large part of the day sitting or lying down, your bones are more likely to become weak and brittle.

Physical activity that involves carrying your weight can actually strengthen your bones. One of the easier ways to get exercise with a low risk of injury is brisk walking.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends a minimum daily intake of 1,300 mg calcium for women after menopause and men over the age of 65.

The German Institute developed an online calculator for its website with the help of Robert Koch Institute in Berlin. The calculator helps you find out quickly and easily roughly how much calcium you are getting through your diet every day and whether that is enough.

If you cannot get enough calcium in your diet, then calcium supplements could help. Trials have shown that taking daily calcium supplements can help protect people who are at high risk of bone fracture.

“Even when you are already over 70, you can reduce your risk of bone fracture if you get enough calcium,” Sawicki said.

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