Osteoporosis is by definition by the Oxford Dictionary a medical condition in which the bones become brittle and fragile from loss of tissue, typically as a result of hormonal changes, or deficiency of calcium or vitamin D.
The precursor is osteopenia, a bone condition in which decreased calcification, decreased density, or reduced mass occurs.
With osteopenia, you are more likely to fracture a bone if you fall than a person with normal bone density and less likely than someone with osteoporosis.
Through out life, old bone cells break down and new ones grow. With the onset of osteoporosis, new cell growth does not keep up with the old cells breaking down.
Less bone mineral density (BMD) results. If left untreated, osteoporosis leads to frail bones that can fracture with a bump or fall.
BMD is the measurement of minerals within your bones. The higher the mineral count, the stronger the bone.
A BMD test is the best way to test your bone health.
A DXA test or dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry is performed at the hip and spine. It is painless like an x-ray.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that all women over age 65 should have a bone density test and those at high risk for fractures.
The task force also recommends an individualized approach. If you think you are at risk, talk to your doctor to see if you should have a BMD test.
There are many risk factors. According to the National Institute of Health, there are some you can change and some you cannot.
1. Gender. Women get osteoporosis more than men
2. Age. The older you are, the greater your risk.
3. Body size. Small, thin women have a higher risk
4. Ethnicity. White/Asian women are high risk. Black/Hispanic women are lower risk.
5. Family history. Osteoporosis tends to run in families.
1. Hormones. Low estrogen levels in women. Low testosterone levels in men.
2. Eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa can lead to osteoporosis
3. A diet low in calcium and vitamin D
4. Some medicines increase your risk
5. Lack of exercise or long-term bed rest can cause weak bones.
7. Drinking too much alcohol
According to the Mayo Clinic, one should include strength training and weight bearing exercise along with adequate amounts of calcium and Vitamin D
Start with your diet. An efficient and healthy body must be fed the right fuel.
Good sources of Calcium:
1. Whole fresh cheese
2. Leafy kale (add it to your smoothies)
3. Broccoli whole
4. Canned sardines
5. Almonds and brazil nuts
6. Supplement (Multivitamin by NOW is my favorite)
I did not include dairy products other than cheese on my list. Those foods break down into sugar causing insulin spikes which can lead to Syndrome X a precursor to Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Visit the National Osteoporosis Foundation for a complete listing of foods rich in calcium.
Good sources of vitamin D:
1. Salmon, fresh wild caught Pacific
2. Egg yolks
3. Canned tuna
The NIH recommends 600-800IU for adults aged 19 and over.
Start with a daily log of your exercises whether it's walking with light hand weights or doing some strength training. It's a great way to measure your progress and keep you motivated!
Weight bearing exercises don't mean you will bulk up like a body builder or have to perform bench presses at a maxed out weight.
Exercises using bands or your own body weight are a great place to start. When you're ready to progress, try adding light dumb bells.
Remember, more isn't necessarily good. Finish your last two reps wishing the exercise was over. If you did not feel that way, write it down and add a little weight or resistance.
In the beginning, you may want it to be over after 5 reps. It will get easier. 25 reps is your goal. Be kind to yourself, if it's a struggle at first, it's okay. Rome wasn't built in a day.
Focus on good form throughout each exercise. Keep your abs tight, shoulders back and chest out. Proper posture is the key to maximum benefits and avoiding injury.
For longevity and quality of life, it's up to you to take care of your body. Fuel it right and add some weight bearing exercise and you'll be amazed at your increase in energy and sense of well-being.
Take time to take care of yourself. Use your journal or activity log daily. This can also be a time of reflection that is good for the mind and spirit.
Before starting any exercise program, if in doubt of your health, check with your doctor to make sure it's safe to begin.
As always, you can contact me at sara@eurofitwithsara if you have any questions. I'll answer your questions and if I don't have the answer, I'll find it for you!