If you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis, the number one thing you can do to avoid fractures is take your prescription medication as your doctor recommends. Whether you use an injected medication, a monthly pill, or a daily pill, you must adhere to your dosing schedule closely. But on top of taking medication, there are also a few other things you can do to reduce your risk of fractures. Here are three ways to "supplement" your postmenopausal osteoporosis treatments.
Get Your Exercise
High-impact exercise like running and jumping is not typically a good idea when you have osteoporosis since it can increase your risk of fractures. However, doing some lower-impact, weight-bearing exercise will help stimulate your bone tissue and discourage your osteoclasts from absorbing any more of the calcium-rich bone matrix.
Good exercises to include in your routine include walking and cycling. If you prefer to work out at the gym, try spending some time on the elliptical machine or stair climber. If you're not used to getting a lot of exercise, start off slow with just 10 minutes a day, and then build your way up from there.
Eat Plenty of Calcium
If you get enough calcium in your diet, your body won't need to leech as much of it from your bones -- so they'll stay stronger. While dairy products are known for their high calcium content, they are not the only good sources of this mineral.
Salmon, sardines, soybeans, and greens (like kale, spinach, and bok choy), are all good sources. You can even take a multivitamin and mineral supplement that contains calcium in order to meet your needs. The RDA for calcium for post-menopausal women on estrogen therapy is 1000–1200 mg per day. Women who are not on hormone replacement therapy need 1500 mg per day.
Get Some Sunshine
Spending hours out in the sun without protection is obviously not a good idea since it increases your risk of skin cancer. However, you should not completely avoid the sun, either. Spending about 20 minutes outside each day will prompt your body to produce more vitamin D, which will help your bones retain more calcium.
If you have a history of skin cancer and have to be extra careful about sun exposure, make sure you take a vitamin D supplement. Reach for one that contains D3, rather than D2, as this is the more easily absorbed form of the supplement.