According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, nearly half of all women and a quarter of all men over 50 will break a bone due to Osteoporosis. THAT NUMBER IS CRAZY, not to mention scary! May is National Osteoporosis Month and with around 52 million Americans suffering from the disease, its time we talk prevention and raise awareness around the leading cause of age-related damage to the bones. Keep reading to learn more about Osteoporosis and get my “Strong Bones” workout playlist to motivate you to boost your bone health!
What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a condition in which your bones become weak and grow likely to break. The most frequently affected are the bones of the hip, spine, and wrist. It is often called the “silent disease” because there are no symptoms. People at any age can become affected by osteoporosis, women, particularly older women, are at the highest risk. It is estimated that one of every two women and one of every four men will break a bone as a result of osteoporosis at some point in their lives.
What Causes Osteoporosis?
As you age, your bones naturally get weaker. And as they become more brittle, they’re more susceptible to break from even minor injuries and falls that wouldn’t have even caused a bruise at a younger age. There are many risk factors for osteoporosis that are genetic and others lifestyle related, those include:
- Gender – Eighty percent of those affected are women.
- Body size – Women who are small and thin are at a higher risk.
- Age – The older a person is, the greater their risk.
- Family history – Osteoporosis is a disease that is commonly found to run in families.
- Ethnicity – White and Asian women have increased risk.
- Low estrogen levels in women.
- A diet low in calcium and vitamin D.
- The use of certain medications.
- Lack of physical activity
- Drinking alcohol
Osteoporosis and the broken bones it causes are not part of “normal” aging. You’re never too young or too old to improve the health of your bones. Whatever your age, the habits you adopt now can affect your bone health for the rest of your life. Now is the time to take action. Here are a three healthy ways to build strong bones and protect yourself from Osteoporosis:
Bone Health and Happiness. Boost Your Bone Health With These Lifestyle Tips.
1. Get enough calcium and vitamin D and eat a well balanced diet. The food that you eat can affect your bones. Learning about the foods that are rich in calcium, vitamin D, and other nutrients that are important for your bone health and overall health will help you make healthier food choices every day. Aim to eat foods that are good for bone health, like fruits and vegetables. The Chart below from the National Osteoporosis Foundation can give you an idea of good sources of bone building nutrients.
|Dairy products such as low-fat and non-fat milk, yogurt and cheese||Calcium. Some dairy products are fortified with Vitamin D.|
|Canned sardines and salmon (with bones)||Calcium|
|Fatty varieties such as salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines||Vitamin D|
|Fruits and vegetables|
|Collard greens, turnip greens, kale, okra, Chinese cabbage, dandelion greens, mustard greens and broccoli.||Calcium|
|Spinach, beet greens, okra, tomato products, artichokes, plantains, potatoes, sweet potatoes, collard greens and raisins.||Magnesium|
|Tomato products, raisins, potatoes, spinach, sweet potatoes, papaya, oranges, orange juice, bananas, plantains and prunes.||Potassium|
|Red peppers, green peppers, oranges, grapefruits, broccoli, strawberries, brussels sprouts, papaya and pineapples.||Vitamin C|
|Dark green leafy vegetables such as kale, collard greens, spinach, mustard greens, turnip greens and brussel sprouts.||Vitamin K|
|Calcium and vitamin D are sometimes added to certain brands of juices, breakfast foods, soy milk, rice milk, cereals, snacks and breads.||Calcium, Vitamin D|
2. Get REGULAR Exercise! There are two types of exercises that are important for building and maintaining bone density: weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening exercises. Weight-bearing exercises can be high-impact or low-impact. High-impact weight-bearing exercises help build bones and keep them strong. If you have broken a bone due to osteoporosis or are at risk of breaking a bone, you may need to avoid high-impact exercises. If you’re not sure, you should check with your healthcare provider.
Examples of high-impact weight-bearing exercises are:
- Doing high-impact aerobics
- Jumping Rope
- Stair climbing
Low-impact weight-bearing exercises can also help keep bones strong and are a safe alternative if you cannot do high-impact exercises. Examples of low-impact weight-bearing exercises are:
- Doing low-impact aerobics
- Using stair-step machines
- Fast walking on a treadmill or outside
These exercises include activities where you move your body, a weight or some other resistance against gravity. They are also known as resistance exercises and include:
- Lifting weights
- Using elastic exercise bands
- Using weight machines
- Using Pilates Reformer Machines
- Lifting your own body weight (body weight training)
- Functional movements, such as standing and rising up on your toes
Yoga and Pilates can also improve strength, balance and flexibility. However, certain positions may not be safe for people with osteoporosis or those at increased risk of broken bones. For example, exercises that have you bend forward may increase the chance of breaking a bone in the spine. A physical therapist or personal trainer should be able to help you learn which exercises are safe and appropriate for you.
Non-impact exercises can help you to improve balance, posture and how well you move in everyday activities. These exercises can also help to increase muscle strength and decrease the risk of falls and broken bones. Some of these exercises include:
- Balance exercises that strengthen your legs and test your balance, such as Tai Chi, can decrease your risk of falls.
- Posture exercises that improve your posture and reduce rounded or “sloping” shoulders can help you decrease the chance of breaking a bone, especially in the spine. Check out my “perfect posture workout video” for a few ideas.
- Functional exercises that improve how well you move can help you with everyday activities and decrease your chance of falling and breaking a bone. For example, if you have trouble getting up from a chair or climbing stairs, you should do these activities as exercises.
Whats most important is that you are CONSISTENT with weight bearing cardiovascular exercise, strength/resistance training, and functional fitness. How Much Exercise Do You Need for Healthy Bones?
|Weight-bearing exercises||30 minutes on most days of the week. Do a 30-minute session or multiple sessions spread out throughout the day. The benefits to your bones are the same.|
|Muscle-strengthening exercises||Two to three days per week. If you don’t have much time for strengthening/resistance training, do small amounts at a time. You can do just one body part each day. For example do arms one day, legs the next and trunk the next. You can also spread these exercises out during your normal day.|
|Balance, posture and functional exercises||Every day or as often as needed. You may want to focus on one area more than the others. If you have fallen or lose your balance, spend time doing balance exercises. If you are getting rounded shoulders, work more on posture exercises. If you have trouble climbing stairs or getting up from the couch, do more functional exercises. You can also perform these exercises at one time or spread them during your day. Work with a phyiscal therapist to learn the right exercises for you.|
If you haven’t exercised regularly for a while, check with your healthcare provider before beginning a new exercise program—particularly if you have health problems such as heart disease, diabetes or high blood pressure. If you’re at high risk of breaking a bone, you should work with a physical therapist to develop a safe exercise program. A physical therapist or educated personal trainer can help you build a fitness program to meet your needs and help you stay consistent with strength, balance, posture and functional exercises.
The best protection against osteoporosis is prevention, and the best prevention is to eat healthy and be active. Osteoporosis doesn’t have to be a part of your life. Im here to support you in living a healthy lifestyle and keeping your bones strong by eating well, moving often, and being well! To motivate you in “bone boosting” workouts, I’ve put together a “Strong Bones” playlist just for you. Try it out next time you go for a jog or hit the gym – let me know if it motivates you to MOVE!
Have you or someone you love been affected by Osteoporosis? Whats one way you work to build your bone health?
Till next time – keep shining,
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