Boost Your Bones

Bone health is a particularly important issue when it comes to falls prevention. As we get older our bone strength can deteriorate putting us at greater risk of fractures if we fall.

To help prevent falls and fractures in later life the Northern Trust is highlighting the importance of boosting bone health through exercise and a balanced diet rich in calcium and getting enough Vitamin D through sunshine.

During Falls Awareness Week the Northern Trust is asking older people to think about things they can do to maintain healthy bones and reduce the risk of Osteoporosis and fractures. This may include the following:

Exercise

In addition to improving strength and balance to reduce the risk of falls, weight bearing exercise is one of the best ways to maintain healthy bones. Weight bearing exercise is any kind of physical activity that supports the weight of your own body, including:

Walking, Climbing stairs, Tai Chi, Dancing, Eating a balanced diet and getting enough vitamin D

A balanced diet, including foods rich in calcium, is particularly important for maintaining healthy bones – but without the right amount of Vitamin D our bodies are unable to absorb it. This is an important issue for some older people who are unable to get out regularly, as about 90 percent of our vitamin D is normally obtained from sunlight.

Getting nutrients from diet or sunlight exposure is preferable to taking dietary supplements, however this may be a necessary step for some people. It is a good idea to talk to your GP about Vitamin D or calcium supplements if you feel you are not getting enough from your diet.

Good sources of calcium include: Vitamin D can also be found in: Milk Fortified spreadable fats and breakfast cereals

Hard cheeses such as cheddar Oily fish such as salmon, sardines and mackerel Baked beans Egg yolk Green leafy vegetables Nuts Sardines with edible bones Fortified soya milk

For further information on bone health, please go to www.northerntrust.hscni.net and follow links for Older People’s Health – Looking after Bones. Test your knowledge of bone health and enter our quiz for a chance to win a voucher for Morellis in Portstewart.

Alternatively go to www.ageuk.org.uk to download Age UK’s free ‘Staying Steady’ guide.