You can slow the onset of osteoporosis or reduce its impact if you form habits that build and strengthen your bones.
It is best if you start healthy habits early in life, but it's never too late. Habits that build and strengthen bones include:
Eating a nutritious diet that includes adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D. Both are needed for building healthy, strong bones.
Taking vitamin D supplements. You may find it difficult to get enough vitamin D from food alone and may consider taking a vitamin D supplement or a multivitamin with vitamin D in it. Refer to HealthLinkBC File #68e Food Sources of Calcium and Vitamin D for food source ideas and information on supplements. Talk to your health care provider about the right supplement for you.
Getting regular exercise. Weight-bearing exercises—such as walking, jogging, stair climbing, dancing, or lifting weights—keep bones healthy by working the muscles and bones against gravity.
To maintain healthy bones as an adult:
Don't drink too much. Osteoporosis Canada recommends drinking no more than 2 alcohol drinks a day. See pictures of standard alcoholic drinks.
Don't smoke. Smoking puts you at a much higher risk for developing osteoporosis. Smokers lose bone density faster than people who do not smoke.
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Papaioannou A, et al. (2010). 2010 clinical practice guidelines for the diagnosis and management of osteoporosis in Canada: Summary. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 182(17): 1864–1873. DOI: 10.1503/cmaj.100771. Accessed October 28, 2014.
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If you have questions about physical activity or exercise, call 8-1-1 (or 7-1-1 for the deaf and heard of hearing) toll-free in B.C. Our qualified exercise professionals are available Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm Pacific Time. You can also leave a message after hours.
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HealthLinkBC’s qualified exercise professionals can also answer your questions by email.
If you have any questions about healthy eating, food, or nutrition, call 8-1-1 (or 7-1-1 for the deaf and hard of hearing) toll-free in B.C. You can speak to a health service navigator who can connect you with one of our registered dietitians, who are available 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday. You can also leave a message after hours.
Translations services are available in more than 130 languages.
HealthLinkBC Dietitians can also answer your questions by email.