STRONG BONES – Reduce Osteoporosis Risk with Proper Exercise, Diet

STRONG BONES – Reduce Osteoporosis Risk with Proper Exercise, Diet

- in Fitness, Winter 2016
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More than 52 million women and men have either osteoporosis or low bone mass. If current trends continue, the figure will climb to more than 61 million by 2020. It’s a widespread condition in which the bone loses its density, putting you at risk of fractures.

Wrist, hip and spine are the most common fracture points. The worst aspect of osteoporosis is that there is no warning. The first sign of the condition is often a broken bone after a minor fall.

HEALTH BENEFITS TO EXERCISE

Many people promote ‘weight-bearing’ activities as a way to halt

and reverse bone loss. Unfortunately, general activity will do very little to reverse bone loss. We do, however, know that human bone will adapt to a stimulus provided from progressively loaded strength training exercise. This exercise starts at the muscles and goes down to the bones; it affects all of the connective tissue in between, making for a more resilient drive train.

The health benefits of high-intensity strength training are far-reaching and impressive. There is evidence to suggest that high-intensity strength  training can increase our bone mass and bone strength and help prevent loss of bone mineral density as we age. This is exciting news, especially as significant improvements in bone health can be achieved from just two, 20-minute sessions of high-intensity strength training weekly.

BUILDING BONE STRENGTH

Walking, dancing, tennis, and yoga, however, have all been shown to benefit your bones. One exercise you can do at home to activate your muscles and help bone strength is a walking lunge. Here’s how to do it:

Begin by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands on your hips.

Step forward with one leg, flexing the knees to drop your hips. Descend until your rear knee nearly touches the ground. Your posture should remain upright, and your front knee should stay above the front foot.

Drive through the heel of your lead foot and extend both knees to raise yourself back up.

Step forward with your rear foot, repeating the lunge on the opposite leg.

DIET, PROPER OILS CAN HELP

Calcium and Vitamin D are essential to maintaining healthy bone density, but the truth is there are dozens of nutrients that can help bone health. A healthy overall diet, one rich in fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins, is a good start for  obtaining all the nutrients bones require. Promising studies suggest that grapefruit, salmon, sardines, olive oil and walnuts and flaxseed might give you that extra edge when it comes to building and maintaining bones.

Omega-3 fats like krill oil are also a useful tool. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed how omega-3 fats can increase your bones while too much omega-6 vegetable oils can hurt your density.

You may also want to be careful of wheat, as it has been shown to decrease bone density in some people. And finally, get plenty of healthy sun exposure as that is, without question, the best way to increase your vitamin D levels.

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