Weak brittle bones, who wants them?? Broken bones, especially in older adults can mean the beginning of declining health. I am just getting to the point where my time is my own again. I don’t want something like osteoporosis slowing me down, do you?
Why are menopausal women at greater risk for Osteoporosis?
- During and after menopause the amount of estrogen in a woman’s body decreases which slows down the production of bone. Women in this stage of life can lose up to 38% of the bone growth they accumulated during peak bone growth years (up to age 17).
- Some older women become more sedentary as they age. Being sedentary is described as standing for less than four hours per day. When your bones are not subject to weight bearing, they naturally atrophy.
Other lifestyle risks that contribute to bone loss
- If you smoke or drink an excessive amount of alcohol
- If your diet does not include adequate amounts of calcium
- If you do not get adequate amounts of sunshine (Vitamin D)
How to prevent bone loss during and after menopause
The good news is any type of weight bearing exercise has been proven to prevent bone loss and keep your bones strong. Weight bearing exercise is anything that works against gravity. That means if you don’t own weights or have access to a gym, you can still do weight bearing exercise by doing body weight exercises (think squats, planks, push-ups etc.) Walking, jogging, dancing and jumping are also considered weight bearing exercise. To get maximum bone building benefits, you should take part in 30 to 60 minutes of weight bearing exercises for and least 3 days per week.
So what are you waiting for? Don’t let bone loss slow you down. Fight back with weight bearing exercise!
This week’s post was going to be a review of my new Fitbit Flex, but something else has has become a priority in my brain these days. I am officially a member of the sandwich generation. You know, we’re the ones who have been taking care of children and now need to take care of aging parents as well. Over the last five years, my mother-in-law has been facing declining health. It’s been due largely to osteoporosis. She has fallen three times in the last five years. In those falls, she has broken each humerus and her pelvis (twice).
Right now she is in a nursing home working hard to get better so she can come home from her latest fall. Her days are filled with physical therapy, doctor’s appointments and pain.
According to the National Osteoporosis foundation, 60% of adults age 50 and over are at risk of breaking a bone due to osteoporosis. Preventing this quality of life robbing disease includes eating foods (or taking supplements) that contain Calcium and Vitamin D as well as Magnesium, Potassium, and vitamins C and K.
Exercise is REALLY important too. You need three types to keep your bones working like they should. You need weight bearing exercises, strength training, and balance, posture and functional exercises.
Weight bearing exercises are what we usually think of as aerobic exercise. Running, dancing, hiking and tennis are just a few examples. Strength training is exercise performed with resistance. Body weight exercises, free weights, weight machines, resistance bands all are used to strength train. Balance and posture exercises will help with preventing falls. Functional exercises are designed to mimic movements you need for activities of daily living. Having more strength, stamina and balance during ADL will prevent falls that lead to broken bones.
People (especially women), the time to make these adjustments to your lifestyle is NOW. Don’t wait. Many times the first symptom of osteoporosis is a broken bone. By then, it may be too late to keep this disease from stealing your quality of life.