Are you a women over 50?
Did you know half of all women over age 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis?
If you’re a man, the odds are one in four. That’s right, men can develop osteopenia, too. In all, about 54 million Americans have osteoporosis.
Did you also know you can take steps to avoid developing osteoporosis – or improve bone strength once you have it?
What exactly is osteoporosis? Osteoporosis means literally “porous bone”. A lot people think that bone is a solid and unchanging. The truth is, our bones are dynamic, constantly changing.
When they’re strong and solid, they have dense ‘webbing’ inside. As they become weaker, this ‘webbing’ thins.
We increase our bone mass up to about age 25-30, meaning we make more bone than we lose. At about this age, we reach “peak” bone mass, the greatest amount of bone we will have. So, the more bone we have at this peak, the less likely we are to develop osteoporosis later in life.
Then, our bone mass stays pretty stable until midlife - menopause to be exact. For women, the first five years after menopause can lead to a 20% decrease in bone density due to our dropping estrogen level.
Risk factors can be uncontrollable; gender – women are more likely to develop osteoporosis and/or it’s precursor, osteopenia; age; family history; low body weight; race – Asians and Caucasians are most at risk.
Or they can be controlled such as; diet, lack of physical activity, smoking, excessive drinking, some medications and estrogen deficiency.
But just because you may have risk factors does not mean all is lost!
Getting the proper nutrition to strengthen your bones is extremely important. Try to get it from foods rather than supplements. Make sure you’re getting enough calcium, vitamin D, vitamin C, beta-carotene, magnesium, boron and K2.
And exercise! Weight bearing exercise is crucial to help avoid and improve bone loss! As I mentioned before, bones are constantly changing. The more they’re stressed, the more they grow. (Just like muscles!) Exercise is one of the best things you can do to strengthen your bones. Be sure to include weight training, as well as balance, spine strengthening, posture, and functional exercises.
Avoid forward flexion, twisting, and jerky movements.
I’ve worked with numerous clients with osteoporosis or osteopenia. With consistent, safe weight training, they have slowed or even reversed their bone loss. Trust me, exercise works!
For more tips about osteoporosis, click here to receive my free PDF, ‘Eight Facts Everyone at Risk for Osteoporosis Must Know ’.