Bone loss is a normal part of aging, but you can take drug-free steps and precautions to mitigate it and to help prevent fractures. Consider these factors:

  • Calcium. Adults should get 1,000 to 1,500 milligrams of calcium a day either from food or supplements.
  • Vitamin D. Your body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium. Adults should get 600 to 1,000 units per day.
  • Exercise. Active women have a lower risk than sedentary women of hip fracture. A good option is walking, a weight-bearing exercise that most women can do their entire lives, and that doesn’t require expensive equipment.
  • Weight. It is possible to be too thin. Low weight is associated with higher fracture risk. So maintain a healthy weight for your height.
  • Smoking and alcohol. Both of these have been shown to contribute to osteoporosis – and in the case of alcohol, to falls. Stop smoking and quit or cut back to one to two drinks per day.
  • Fall prevention. Most fractures happen as a result of a fall. Reduce your risk of falling by installing grab bars and rails, securing loose rugs, removing clutter and wires from high-traffic areas and keeping rooms well lit. Balance exercises also can help improve your strength and stability.