Did you know one out of every two women and one out of every four men over age 50 will have a bone fracture due to Osteoporosis? And according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, twenty percent of women who have a hip fracture will die of complications within six months. Are you at risk of becoming one of these statistics?
Beyond the occasional headlines featuring the most recent scare on how a drug or supplement might affect you based on the latest study, there is very little helpful information you can use about bone health and the prevention of Osteoporosis. After reading Bone Health–The Osteoporosis Book, and training to become an American Bone Health representative, I know that Osteoporosis is a preventable condition. So what can you do to ensure better bone health?
Our bodies build or add to our bone mass from birth, peaking from ages 9-14, continuing until we reach our early 30’s. After that, we will never have more than at our peak, and we must fight to preserve what we already have. So it is crucial that kids, teens, and young adults are active and maintain a calcium rich diet. As for the majority of us, it's quite simple. There are only two things we should be doing: participating in weight bearing exercise like Pilates, and consuming an abundance of calcium-rich, bone healthy, foods. American Bone Health says it is always best to try to get your nutrition in the foods you eat. However, that is not always possible. If you do not get your recommended daily calcium and vitamin D from food, you may need to supplement your diet.
Should you take Calcium and/or Vitamin D? The consensus out there is that if you are not getting enough through your diet, then you should supplement. However, there is a caveat -- you must be a savvy shopper when choosing supplements. Having marketed supplements for 20 years, I advocate using only a high quality product. You need the assurance that the supplement contained in the bottle is exactly what it says, and that its quality has been tested to the highest standards. A name brand does not guarantee purity so it is advisable to do a little research on the manufacturer of the supplement.
Regarding Calcium supplementation -- two of the most widely used types of calcium are Carbonate and Citrate. If the label says it has Calcium Carbonate, it must be taken with food and water for full absorption. Calcium Citrate can be taken with or without food. Your body can only absorb 500 mg at a time. And about Vitamin D -- if you wear protective clothing or sunscreen, your body cannot take in the UV light to make the necessary vitamin D in your body. Few people get enough from their food, and so it's important to get your levels checked and work with your doctor to determine the proper amount to supplement if necessary.
What is considered weight bearing exercise? This is a confusing question. Any form of movement that requires resistance against force is considered to be weight bearing. I'm often asked if cycling and water aerobics is a good way to build bone. Unfortunately, the answer is "no". A study was done on competitive cyclists indicating they actually lost more bone mass participating in their sport than they would have done otherwise. So if you love cycling, water aerobics or swimming, continue this healthy habit, and know that you must do something else to maintain strong bones.
Some of the Pilates apparatus’ I trust for bone building are the Reformer, the combo chair, standing work on the trap table, and mat work. Additionally, the CoreAlign® and Orbit are great pieces of equipment to include in your whole-body, bone building strategy. Activities such as walking, tennis and supervised weight lifting with proper technique are other examples of great weight bearing exercise.
Maintaining a regular Pilates or "mindful movement" practice -- beyond other sports or activities we enjoy -- is the key to good bone health. Pilates not only helps you maintain healthy bone density, but also improves your balance, coordination and muscle control. Most importantly, you gain purposeful strength and teach your body how to move in the way it is designed to move. This prevents injuries that can leave you sedentary for a period of time, or decrease your ability to move as you age -- which further decreases your bone density. If you already have low bone density or osteoporosis, all of these suggestions still apply, and it's also critical that you work with an instructor or trainer who has specialized knowledge of working with Osteoporosis. There are many exercises you absolutely should not be doing if you already have Osteopenia or Osteoporosis, and these exercises can increase your risk of sustaining a life-altering fracture.
You can find out your Osteoporosis fracture risk if you are over 45 years old with American Bone health fracture risk calculator, or come to our bone health seminar and Betsy will go through it with you to help you understand your risk factors. If you can’t eat dairy products, have lived a sedentary lifestyle, smoked, drank alcohol in abundance or have a family history of osteoporosis, it is wise to get a DEXA bone scan. Prescribed drugs used for Chemotherapy, treating Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Acid Reflux can also prevent our bodies from absorbing Calcium and maintaining our bone mineral density.
What To Do Next
Osteoporosis is preventable, and is a condition that you can improve if you take specific action. Regardless of your age, you have the power to change the future for you and those you care about. Why not enjoy an active, healthy lifestyle into your golden years? Park Meadows Pilates takes a partnership approach to support your commitment to bone health. Attend our FREE bone health seminar on Saturday, January 14, 2012 to find out what you can do to improve your bone health and how we can help. Bring your significant others or friends and enter a drawing for a free bonus workshop on bone building exercises and other great prizes. Act now by clicking this link to sign up and mark your calendar.https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ASP/home.asp?studioid=912
There is an abundance of information at www.americanbonehealth.org, where you can subscribe to a free email newsletter. Please don't hesitate to contact Betsy Walker at email@example.com if you have any questions.
Learn what your risk is for a fracture and how to reduce those risks:
Tools to take to the doctor:
Talking with your doctor after your bone density test (page 2 of 2)
Dietary and Supplement information:
NSF International Certifies supplements
Information on spinal fractures and preventing them:
Are You as Tall as You Once Were? By Kathleen Cody
University of Missouri-Columbia (2007, October 16). Some Athletic Men May Risk Low Bone
Kavouras SA, et al. Water Polo is Associated with an Apparent Redistribution of Bone Mass and Density from the Lower to the Upper Limbs. Eur J Appl Physiol (2006) 97:316-321.
Bone Health–The Osteoporosis Book, Gwen Ellert RN, Med; Alan Low, PharmD, CCD; John Wade MD, FRCPC