Strong Bones - Tips to Avoid Osteoporosis
The Bare Bones
Perhaps we don't think much about our height until we notice an older relative who has begun to shrink or, unluckily, suffered a fracture.
The fact is that we begin to lose a little height from 30 onwards, at the rate of 1 centimetre a decade, and our bones become less dense.
Exercise for Strong Bones
An article by Dr. Marissa Martyn-St James, who has researched exercise for healthy bones, says that you need to an exercise that stresses your bones and this will help to restore density. If you have osteoporosis please seek medical advice to ensure you are safe.
The drop in oestrogen levels, after menopause, means bones lose density more quickly, but the good news is exercise and diet can balance or reverse this.
Exercise to Reverse the Shrinking Effect
Two or three sessions of bone-building exercise per week in short bursts of 10 - 15 minutes make a difference.
What Dr. Martyn St James looks for in an exercise is the muscles being worked hard and pulling on the bones.
Weight Training - Ask a fitness instructor to show you how to exercise all the main muscle groups, using the maximum weight you can lift for three sets of eight reps.
Skipping - Just a minute per day, jumping with both feet at the same time.
Star Jumps - A minute a day.
High-impact aerobic classes - Step, body pump, body attack and or circuit training classes combining aerobic and strength exercises.
Dance Classes - Think tap, flamenco, ballet or Zumba.
Running - or sports such as hockey or basketball.
Tennis or Squash - is great for muscle pulling on your bones in different ways, which helps to strengthen the bones.
3 Ways to Avoid ~Osteoporosis - Dr. Oz
Not that Fit?
If you are new to fitness or have health issues start slowly and build up.
Balance Activity - Such as t'ai chi, yoga or a dance class.
Walking - At least 5 000 steps every day if you're of average weight.
Hiking - Walking over rough ground, including hills wearing a rucksack to load the bones still further.
Slow lifting, using weights - This increases bone density as much as jogging but don't lift the heaviest weights until you have built up strength.
Vibration Platform - They were devised to help astronauts maintain bone density in space. A 20 minute session may benefit bones, but not if you have osteoporosis.
If you have already broken a bone, back-strengthening exercises to relieve a hunched back and offset loss of height can help - Ask a physiotherapist to advise you.
Eating Your Way to Strong Bones
Diet can may a huge difference, so here are a few tips:
Include some protein with every meal and the higher protein intake results in less bone loss over time.
Eat loads of fruit and veg as they're rich in magnesium and potassium to protect against calcium loss. Leafy green veg contains Vitamin K, as do veg oils, which reduces the risk of hip fracture by two-thirds according to research. Vitamin K is vital to calcium absorption.
Salt or sodium leaches calcium from the bones, so don't add extra salt. Processed foods are high in salt and together with coffee, tea, sweets and alcohol they make the body more 'acid' which leads to calcium loss.
What you are going to love, is red foods as they're rich in lycopene. Carotenoids protect against inflammation which causes bone to be reabsorbed. So eat lots of tomatoes.
Calcium rich foods do seem to strengthen bones, although calcium only supplements may increase heart attack risk in women according to research.
Vitamin D manufactured in skin on exposure to sunlight enhances bone formation and calcium absorption. It's recommended that we get 10 minutes' sun on bare skin once or twice daily without sunscreen. During winter take a supplement of Vitamin D.
The End of Osteoporosis - Markito Nutritio
Are you at Risk for Osteoporosis
According to Professor Cyrus Cooper from Oxford University, only 30% of osteoporosis is down to genes, the rest is up to you.
Body Type: Are you slim with a slender frame?
Fat Distribution: Weighing more is generally good for bone health because it places more load on your bones, however visceral fat (if you're apple-shaped) can be detrimental as it's thought this type of fat secretes chemicals that are harmful to bones.
LifeStyle: Smoking, drinking heavily, lots of fizzy drinks, to many sugary foods and a sedentary lifestyle are all bad news for bones.
Medical History: Eating disorders increases risk as do certain medications such as steroids and some anti-convulsants. Injectable contraceptives taken for more than six months increases the risk as does early menopause, as both reduce oestrogen levels.
If you are worried, you can ask your GP for an ultrasound scan which can give a rough idea of bone density and if it might be worth requesting a DEXA scan. DEXA scan (dual energy X-Ray absorptionmetry).