Prevention of osteoporosis hinges largely on lifestyle choices, if the disease is not caused by an underlying condition. Diet and exercise play pivotal roles in preventing osteoporosis by increasing bone density, and slowing the progress of the disease once it begins. Bones require the proper intake of calcium and vitamin D, which helps the body absorb calcium. Women over 50 should take 1,200 mg of calcium each day, and men should take 1,000 mg. Both should get 400-800 IUs of vitamin D daily.
Weight-bearing exercise is shown to help in the prevention of osteoporosis. This can involve lifting weights or a workout on machines, but includes easier activities such as brisk walking. Balance exercises also help reduce bone loss as well as helping prevent injury from inadvertent falls.
Smoking increases the risk of bone fractures in older adults, possibly due to the toxic effect of nicotine and cadmium in cigarettes. It may also interfere with the body’s ability to absorb calcium into the bones.