What Can You Do in Your 30s to Prevent Osteoporosis Later in Life?

Osteoporosis does not normally appear until you are at least 50 years old. However, that does not mean you should not start thinking about this condition right now while you're in your 30s. In fact, you are at the perfect age to start making healthier choices that will help prevent you from developing osteoporosis later in life. Here are three things you can do to help strengthen your bones and keep them stronger for longer.

Get More Calcium

If you're like most 30-year-olds, you are super busy with your career, family life, and social obligations. As a result, you may not eat as well as you should. Processed foods and quick meals may take the place of the many veggies you should be including in your diet. As a result, your calcium intake may be suffering.

Calcium is absolutely essential for the maintenance of strong bones and the prevention of osteoporosis. If you are not getting enough calcium in your diet, your body will begin leeching it from your bones -- a key component of osteoporosis. 

So, where can you get more calcium? Leafy greens are great sources, so consider eating a salad for lunch more often or adding a handful of spinach to your morning smoothie. Broccoli and beans are also great sources. If you eat dairy, including a serving or two of yogurt each day can greatly boost your intake. If you prefer non-dairy milks, like soymilk or almond milk, make sure you buy the calcium-fortified varieties.

Keep track of how much calcium you eat each day for a week or two to ensure you're getting enough. The recommended intake for a 30-year-old is 1000 mg per day.

Consume More Vitamin D-Rich Foods

Your body makes vitamin D when your skin is exposed to sun. However, you're probably well aware that spending too much time in the sun can cause skin cancer, so you probably wear sunscreen quite often. This prevents your body from making the vitamin D you need healthy bones. 

Since spending more time unprotected in the sun is not the healthiest choice, you should turn your focus towards eating vitamin D-rich foods. Luckily, the leafy greens you should be eating for calcium also contain a lot of vitamin D. Many fortified milks also contain vitamin D. Beef liver, okra, and fatty fish like salmon and tuna are other good foods to eat when you are able. The current RDA for vitamin D is 600 IU for anyone under age 70.

Do More Weight-Bearing Exercise

When you perform weight-bearing exercise, it strengthens your bones and makes osteoporosis less likely. Not only will exercising more in your 30s keep your bones strong, but it will also keep you in better shape so that you're more likely and able to keep exercising as you grow closer to the age where osteoporosis generally sets in. 

Weight-bearing exercise is defined as exercise that puts pressure on your legs and feet.This includes walking, jogging, running, climbing stairs, dancing, hiking, and aerobics, among other forms of exercise.

Making time to exercise can be tough when you're in such a busy stage of life, but here are a few tips to help:

  • Try squeezing in just 10 minutes of walking a few minutes each day when you have breaks.
  • Schedule workouts with your friends rather than meeting at the coffee shop or bar.
  • Run around the yard with your kids. It's playtime and a workout all in one.

To learn more about preventing osteoporosis, reach out to a doctor in your area. They may be able to give you more specific advice about modifying your diet and exercise routines.