There are many things people can do to promote healthy bones. These include:
- having a diet rich in vitamin D
- getting a healthy amount of sunshine
- reducing alcohol intake
- stopping smoking
- exercising regularly
- maintaining a healthy weight.
Exercise helps to strengthen the bones, especially weight-bearing exercise (anything that involves walking, running or lifting weights). However, you should avoid intensive exercise while any fractures or cracks in the bones are healing.
Read more about exercise and arthritis.
Where possible, going outside and exposing your arms and face to sunlight is the best way to get vitamin D. From June to August just 15 minutes a day is generally enough. Don’t allow your skin to go red and take care not to burn, particularly in strong sunshine and if you have fair or sensitive skin.
Diet and nutrition
A diet that includes vitamin D and calcium can help, but this won't prevent the condition by itself. Nevertheless, a diet that provides vitamin D is especially important for those who don't get enough exposure to sunlight.
Oily fish such as mackerel, salmon and herring are the best dietary sources of vitamin D, while dairy products are the best sources of calcium. A dietitian will be able to advise you if you’re unable to get calcium and vitamin D from these sources.
Because we don't get enough sunshine all year round in the UK, and because it's difficult to guarantee getting enough vitamin D from what we eat, Public Health England recommends that everyone should take a 10 microgram supplement of vitamin D every day during the autumn and winter.
People in certain groups at risk of not having enough exposure to sunlight, or whose skin is not able to absorb enough vitamin D from the level of sunshine in the UK, are encouraged to take a daily supplement of 10 micrograms all year round.
Read more about diet and arthritis.