Osteoporosis is the gradual loss of calcium in the bones that over time weakens them and increases the risk of fractures. Although peak bone mass is typically achieved by age 30, building bone density during your adolescent and teen years is crucial.
Studies show that exercises requiring muscle to pull on bones causes the bones to retain and even gain density. “Impact” activities, such as soccer, volleyball and basketball are great bone-building activities for youth. If you’re at risk for osteoporosis, exercises such as brisk walking, slow jogging and bike riding can help to keep your bones healthy.
Osteoporosis and Women
Osteoporosis affects one in three women and one in five men over the age of 50. Research has found that women who walk a mile a day have 4-7 more years of bone in reserve than women who don’t. Resistance exercise such as weightlifting can be very helpful. Start off slowly, don’t increase your weights by more than 10% per week, as larger increases can raise the risk of injury. Your physiotherapist can design a program that is right for you.
Cigarette smoking one pack per day throughout adult life can lead to an additional 5-10% loss of bone mass. It is well known that women are at increased risk for osteoporosis post-menopause, but did you know that smoking lowers estrogen levels and can lead to bone loss before menopause?
Include calcium rich foods in your diet. Adults need 1200-1500 mg of calcium per day! The average adult diet contains only about 750 mg of calcium daily.