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Osteoporosis Tips: Build Stronger Bones

Exercise Your Right to Strong Bones continued...

“I think that just being physically active, being up on your feet and doing a variety of things, probably has benefits that we can't necessarily measure if we study a small group of subjects over a brief interval of time like one year,” says Kohrt. “But if we look at a large population of people followed for many years, that level of activity has benefits for your bones.”

There are also things you shouldn't do if you want to take care of your bones. Tops on the no-no list: smoking. “That's definitely bad for your skeletal health,” says Kohrt. Significant bone loss has been found in men and women who smoke, and the more and longer you smoke, the greater your risk of fracture. Some studies even suggest that secondhand smoke exposure in youth can increase the risk of low bone mass as an adult.

If you're wondering about your bone health, there's a quick at-home test you can take that will assess your overall risk of fracture. Called FRAX, it was developed by the World Health Organization to help evaluate bone fracture risk. Just plug a few numbers into the calculator -- like your age, height, weight, and some information such as whether you smoke or take steroid medications -- and it will give you a percentage risk of having a bone fracture within the next 10 years.

No matter what number you get, however, it's always worth trying to bring it even lower with healthy lifestyle habits. Your bones support you, and they need you to support them.

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Reviewed on January 14, 2011

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