What are Bones?
Our bones are a living tissue. They have their own blood vessels and are made of proteins, minerals and vitamins as well as living cells, which help them to grow and to repair themselves.1
Bones continue to grow and we reach peak bone mass around our late 20s.2 However our bones start to age as we enter our mid-thirties and as a result one in two women and one in five men over the age of 50 will suffer a fracture due to weakened bones. Unfortunately, broken bones or ‘fragility fractures’ are all too common, so adopting a healthier lifestyle early on may help minimise risk of fractures as we get older.3
This means the more bone we have at the time of peak bone mass means the less likely it is that we will break a bone or develop conditions such as osteoporosis.4 After we reach peak bone mass, the balance between how much bone is formed and how much bone is lost may start to change, which can lead to more loss than growth in all people.4
As we age, our bone density begins to decline naturally, and during this time we also become less active.5 By combining a nutrient-rich diet with weight bearing and muscle strengthening exercises, we can help slow down any bone loss, strengthen our bones and reduce the risk of bone breakage.
Why is exercise important for bone health?
Exercise is one of the building blocks (alongside diet) that helps keep bones healthy. Regular exercise is crucial to maintain strong bones and slow the rate of bone loss and reduce the risk of fractures.6 This includes any kind of physical activity where the person is supporting the weight of their own body such as walking, jogging and classes that involve exercising to music.7
Healthy balanced diet
A balanced diet combining a wide range of foods from the four main food groups – fruit and vegetables; carbohydrates such as bread and pasta; milk and dairy; and, protein from meat, fish, pulses and eggs – can help provide the vitamins and minerals needed to increase the strength of our bones and reduce the risk of fragility fractures.8