Bone Strength As We Age
This week I had to go have a bone infusion with the aim of healing the stress fracture in my Tibia (the big weight bearing bone below your knee) which has not healed after 9 months.
Bone Infusions are not new treatments, they are used often for treating Osteoporosis, Bone Cancers and Pagets Disease (another disease of the bone). Now my bone density is okay for my age, for a 42 year female I hover on the normal line (which for a Coeliac is pretty good), although by the time I am in my 70s I may potentially have issues with my spine apparently.
This is the first of many bone infusions for me, but hopefully mine will be all over after 4-5. But this made me think of all the women (predominantly) who suffer from Osteoporosis. One patient beside me was having her 6 monthly bone infusion due to stress fractures in her spine due to this disease. She remarked how scary it is to have stress fractures in the spine and the fear of being paralysed.
But it is not only osteoporosis but ageing in general as one in two women will break a bone after 50 years of age and one in five men will. Unfortunately from our early 30s our bone density starts to decrease but there are plenty of things we can do to reduce the speed of which this reduction occurs.
Research shows that exercise may assist in building and maintaining bone density at any age. Studies have seen bone density increase by doing regular resistance exercise for instance lifting weights just two or three times a week. This form of weight bearing exercise seems to stimulate bone formation and retain calcium in the weight loading bones (such as the tibia). The force of muscles pulling against bones stimulates this bone building process, hence why any exercise that places additional force on a bone will work towards strengthening it.
And it does not matter if you have been more sedentary in the earlier part of your life, start now as the good news is that you may still be able to regain bone strength.
So what are some of the best exercises for increasing Bone Density?
Research shows the following forms of exercise are recommended in order to increase bone density and prevent bone loss: • Weight training – in particular Squats (big all over body movements) • Plyometrics • Jumping • Skipping • Stair Climbing • Body Weight Exercises • Hiking
If you are wondering why cycling and swimming are not listed here, they are great exercises for cardiovascular fitness (ie improving your all over fitness) but they are low impact. This is why they are often recommended when you are injured. This is because they are not weight-bearing exercises which is what you need to increase bone density.
What you eat can make a difference too.
Building and maintaining bone mass requires more than weight-bearing exercise alone, you need to ensure you are eating a balanced, wholesome diet. A combination of good nutrition and weight-bearing exercise is the ideal way to build bone mass. Once we reach about age 30, we don't build bone as readily so building adequate bone density early in life is the best way to prevent osteoporosis later. As an adult, the best way to maintain the bone mass is the same way you build it — getting adequate nutrients, calcium and Vitamin D in your diet and doing weight-bearing exercise.
If you are interested in a program to work on your bone density feel free to pop in and have a chat to us Simply Fit. We work with clients in all ages and stages.
The client in this picture is Angela our oldest at 88 years, and as you can see she is going strong!