Bone health basics for men

Although we tend to associate osteoporosis and other bone conditions with women, men are also at risk, which is why it is important to support bone health throughout life. Bone health is largely dependent on lifestyle choices and there are some key things men can do to support strong healthy bones at any age.

Nutrition

It is important to get enough calcium and vitamin D every day through food or supplements. Men between the ages of 19 and 70 require 1000mg of calcium daily and men over 70 require 1300mg daily. Calcium needs can be met by consuming dairy products such as milk, yoghurt and cheese, tofu (some brands), canned salmon or sardines with soft edible bones, green leafy vegetables, almonds, brazil nuts and sesame seeds. As a general rule, one cup of yoghurt or one cup of milk contains around 300mg of calcium and half a cup of tinned salmon contains approximately 400mg.

Adequate vitamin D is crucial for forming and maintaining strong bones and can be attained through sensible sunlight exposure. Vitamin D supplements may be appropriate for men who avoid the sun, have an occupation with little sun exposure such as office workers, factory workers or night‐shift workers, or have naturally very dark skin.

Exercise

Exercise plays a very important role in the maintenance of bone health. The specific exercises for improving bone strength include weight‐bearing activities such as jogging, brisk walking, basketball, netball and tennis, as well as resistance training such as lifting weights and using gym equipment. It is recommended that healthy men include a variety of weight‐bearing exercises and progressive resistance training for at least 30 minutes three to five times a week.

Other

Additional lifestyle changes to support bone health in men include:

  • Quitting smoking.
  • Consuming alcohol and caffeine in moderation only.
  • Maintaining a healthy body weight.
  • Reducing intake of fatty, salty and processed foods.