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Aging gracefully: Caring for your bones as you age

By Rachel Nania

WASHINGTON — Orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Tozzi has some advice for those under the age of 50: “Exercise really should be part of what you do every day — at least five days a week — and it should be moderate to high intensity for about 45 minutes to an hour.”

That’s to ensure you minimize problems related to bone health down the road.

Bone health is a major concern among the aging population. Deteriorating bones can lead to fragility fracture, loss in height and loss in proper spinal balance, all of which contribute to disability and impairment in old age.

“[Those with poor bone health] lose height; they become more rounded in their shoulders; their abdomen becomes more protuberant even if they haven’t had a weight gain. And this is a vicious cycle of progressive deterioration,” says Tozzi, who is the chairman of orthopedics at MedStar Washington Hospital Center.

And while bone loss is an unavoidable effect of aging, there are ways to minimize this loss and to keep your bones as healthy as possible.

“As one ages, if they don’t stay active in a way that stimulates bone health, which is actually through active muscle contraction against gravity, they will lose bone mineral, bones will become more brittle, and more brittle bone is more fragile bone.”

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