Bone Loss Awareness: National Osteoporosis Foundation · Project Healthy Bones
There was a time when people thought osteoporosis was something that happened to everybody when they got old: fragile bones and a humped back were inevitable. We now know this is not true.
Adequate blood calcium drives all our bodily processes — we cannot live without it. Most people can get the calcium they need from foods like cheese, yogurt, leafy greens, and fortified cereals. Calcium tablets are good for filling in when you can’t get enough in your diet, but it is always better to get your calcium from food.
You also need enough Vitamin D. Without Vitamin D, your body can’t absorb calcium from the foods you eat. It can be harder to get all the vitamin D you need. Vitamin D is naturally made by bare skin in reaction to sunlight.
Many people get too little sun or have skin that doesn’t absorb much vitamin D, such as older adults and darker-skinned people. For these individuals, extra effort is needed to avoid bone damage. Because there aren’t many food sources of vitamin D, supplements are recommended for people who need them.
Project Healthy Bones is a 24-week exercise and education program for older women and men at risk for, or who have osteoporosis. The program is offered at community sites throughout the state.
The Project Healthy Bones Curriculum includes exercises that target the body’s larger muscle groups which are designed to improve strength, balance and flexibility. Participants are provided with weight cuffs with one-pound pellets which allow for individualized progression.
The curriculum also educates participants on the importance of exercise, nutrition, safety, drug therapy and lifestyle factors as they relate to osteoporosis. The education portion of the class is interactive.