Osteoporosis in Men (cont.)
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Prevention of Osteoporosis in Men
Building strong bones and reaching peak bone density (maximum strength and solidness), especially before the age of 30, can be the best defense against developing osteoporosis. Also, a healthy lifestyle can keep bones strong, especially for people older than 30 years of age.
Medical research on osteoporosis in men is limited. However, experts agree that all people should take the following steps to preserve bone health.
Exercise is important to prevent osteoporosis. Although bones may seem like hard and lifeless structures, bones are more like muscle; bones are living tissue that responds to exercise by becoming stronger. Physical activity during childhood and adolescence increases bone density and strength, which means that children who get exercise are more likely to reach their peak bone density (maximum strength and solidness). People who reach their peak bone density, which usually occurs by 30 years of age, are less likely to develop osteoporosis.
The best exercise to prevent osteoporosis is weight-bearing exercise that works against gravity. Exercises include walking, hiking, jogging, climbing stairs, playing tennis, and dancing. The second type of exercise is resistance exercise. Resistance exercises include activities that use muscle strength to build muscle mass and strengthen bone. These activities include weight lifting, such as using free weights and weight machines found at gyms and health clubs. Exercise has additional benefits in older people as well because exercising increases muscle strength, coordination, and balance and leads to better overall health.
Elderly people, people with osteoporosis, and people who have not exercised for most of their adulthood should check with their health care professional before beginning any exercise program.
Mythili Seetharaman, MD
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