Published on March 28, 2013

Q&A: Physiatrist Dr. Dennis Ivill: osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is not inevitable as we age.

You can take preventive measures against osteoporosis by boosting bone health.

Dennis IvillQ. How can I keep my bones strong and healthy?

The prescription for good bone health is simple: Get enough calcium and vitamin D, eat a well-balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, engage in regular exercise, avoid smoking and limit alcohol.

Q. What are the best exercises to prevent osteoporosis?

You can build and maintain bone density with weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening exercises, such as walking, hiking, strength training and resistance training using exercise bands or doing squats. If tests show your bones are already thinning, be careful about exercises that might cause you to fall. Talk to your doctor or physical therapist before you start any new program.

Q. Am I getting enough vitamin D?

Men and women need about 1,200 milligrams of calcium per day. As a reference, one 8-oz glass of nonfat milk contains 299 milligrams of calcium. It’s also important to get about 600 IUs of vitamin D to ensure adequate absorption of calcium. A simple blood test can determine if you are vitamin D deficient. Ask your doctor if a supplement is best for you.