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Bone strength can deteriorate as an individual ages, making bones more brittle and likely to break. A combination of lifestyle changes such as eating a proper diet and exercising more can help not only maintain, but also increase bone strength. Medical supplements, especially those classified as bisphosphonate drugs, may help as well. A number of these measures can be particularly effective when done together.
Bone strength is connected to bone mineral density (BMD). When an individual is young, bone cells and tissues are replaced as fast as they are lost; as a person ages, this replacement process slows and results in deteriorating bone strength and density. When there is a severe decline in BMD, osteoporosis can develop. Taking measures to strengthen bones can prevent this from happening.
Increasing the amount of daily exercise can help strengthen bones drastically. The most effective form of exercise for strengthening bones is lifting weights, but in order to get the maximum benefit from the exercise it is important to do so carefully. To increase bone strength, the weight lifted must be much greater than the stress put on the body by everyday activity, but not so much that it will damage muscles, tissues and tendons or create other injury. It is also important to be sure that the program is designed to impact all bones in the body; for example, lifting weights from a bench press will not help build bone strength in the legs.
A change in diet can also help to increase bone density. Calcium is an important nutrient in maintaining bone health; just as is it important for growing children to get enough calcium to support developing bone, it's also important for adults to sustain a high-calcium diet to maintain those bones. Supplements can help augment a proper diet to ensure there is enough calcium present. Vitamin D can also help maintain the inner balance of the bones. Doctors also may prescribe medication to treat bone loss, such as alendronate sodium or ibandronate or other drugs classified as bisphosphonates.
Sometimes, a simple lifestyle change will also have a great impact on increasing the strength of the bones throughout the body. For those who drink to excess or smoke, simply stopping can help the body begin to recover bone strength that has been lost. Maintaining the bone strength that has been gained by diet, nutrients and exercise is important as well, and taking measures to avoid falls and other accidents that may result in a broken bone can help keep them in a strong and healthy condition.
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