Exercise for strong bonesThere is an age-related decline in the mineral content of bones that leaves older people with a weaker, less dense, more brittle skeleton. Women begin to lose bone mass around the age of 30, putting them at risk for osteoporosis and associated fractures and back pain.

There are many factors that affect bone mineral density in the elderly. Some are poor dietary habits, hormonal changes, deficient calcium intake, deficient amounts of vitamin D, a sedentary lifestyle, deficient intake of green leafy vegetables and lack of boron and vitamin K. Nutritional adjustments, such as increasing daily calcium intake, have been shown to increase bone density, but can exercise adjustments benefit as well?

An article published in the journal of Sports Medicine investigated the potential role of exercise in helping women maintain bone mass.  The researchers analyzed 21 studies and presented these conclusions:

  • Regular exercise can delay or halt bone loss in women.
  • Weight-bearing exercises are considerably more effective than exercises that do not involve any loading (such as swimming).
  • Premenstrual and post menopausal women can benefit from a consistent exercise routine.

So what constitutes “weight-bearing exercise?”Basically, it’s any activity that stresses your bones against your full body weight, such as walking, dancing, running, tennis, step aerobics, or stair climbing.  All those rowers, gliders, and ski machines at the gym will provide a good cardiovascular workout, but they won’t help you build or maintain body mass.

Here are some interesting facts about osteoporosis: In the very old, one in three women suffer hip fractures, one in six men suffer hip fractures. 15 percent of the elderly patients who suffer hip fractures will die from complications and another 50 percent will require expensive, long-term care.

Some nutrients that help prevent osteoporosis are calcium, vitamin B6, C, D, K, folic acid, manganese, boron, zinc, copper, strontium, silicon.

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