Keeping active is your best defence against brittle bones. Exercise will encourage healthy bones and prevent loss of bone mass. Try to get 20 to 30 minutes of aerobic, weight-bearing exercise on most days of the week, and do muscle-strengthening exercises 2 to 3 times per week. If you have osteoporosis, you might have to take a few extra precautions in order to keep active, especially in situations where you risk falling and having a fracture.
Taking daily walks in the winter can be invigorating, but you need to be extra careful while walking outside. If you need extra support, use a cane or walker if your healthcare professional has suggested one. Wear boots with a good tread and take small, even steps. You can also use ice grippers, which can be attached to your cane or footwear, to reduce your risk of falls when walking on slippery surfaces outside. If possible, try to have someone clear your walkway before you go out.
Other times of the year, watch for anything that can make you trip or slip. Avoid puddles of water, wet grass, and piles of wet leaves, and steer clear of cracked or lifted sidewalks.
Caring for your house, cooking, and participating in hobbies are all ways to stay active indoors, too. It helps to take precautions at home, and it might help to have someone go through the house with you with a critical eye. Many things we take for granted can be hazardous. Some culprits include:
- scatter rugs
- items left on stairs
- children's toys
- pet toys or even pets themselves
- shower stalls or bathtubs
By keeping the floor as clutter-free as possible, you limit your chances of tripping and falling. Make sure items you need are within reach – try not to climb on chairs or stepladders. Also, keep in mind that many accidents occur in the bathroom and kitchen, so be sure to wipe up spills on the floor as soon as they happen and be a bit more careful if the floor is wet. If you need a grab-bar in the shower or bath, have one installed. It will give you a good grip and help you get in and out without losing your balance. A seat in the shower is another good idea.
If you get the right medical therapy, eat a calcium-rich diet, and keep active safely, osteoporosis doesn't have to get in the way of a full and vigorous life.
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