The bones you have in your body right now are not the same bones as you had a couple of years ago – your bones are alive and always changing. Bone matrix is constantly being layed down by cells call osteoblasts, while bone is broken down (resorpt) by cells called osteoclasts. In a perfect world these two types of cells should be working at the same rate so that old bone is constantly being remodelled and replaced by new bone. However, as we age this process becomes out of sync, and decreased osteoblastic activity cannot keep up which results in a slowly decreasing bone density and potential even osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis currently almost effects 2 million Canadians are living with osteoporosis. Although it is a disease mostly affecting women, it does affect men as well. 1 in 4 women over age 50, and 1 in 8 men over 50 years have osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is actually a disease of childhood that manifest as you age. Peak bone mass is achieved around age 18-20, but after that point your bone mass will most likely stay stable until their mid-30’s when they start to lose bone density. As women approach and go through menopause they lose bone at the greatest rate around 2-5% per year.
The major risk of having osteoporosis is the large increase chance of fractures. At least 80% of fractures in people 60+ are related to osteoporosis with the most common sites of osteoporotic fracture are the wrist, spine and hip. 23% of patients who fracture a hip die in less than a year.
The most effective way to prevent osteoporosis is to during your teenage years when your body is laying down that foundation for your skeleton. But if that time has already passed, there are other ways to decrease the demineralization of your bones.
Fitness prevent Osteoporosis!
By engaging in regular physical activity this promotes the formation of new bone and remodelling the old bone to be structurally stronger. Physical activity also improves muscle strength and size which can act as cushioning for bones but also help with posture, balance and coordination, which will reducing the risk of falls and broken bones
Things that you can do to prevent osteoporosis!
- HIGH LOADING STRENGTH TRAINING!!!!
- Meaning that, doing 7-8 reps at 60-80% of your 1RM is more effective than 15-20 reps at 20-40% of 1RM. It’s called a “work-out” for a reason, it’s supposed to be hard work! This will more effectively increase Bone Mineral Density, metabolism, and stability!
- Try to target larger muscle groups; pecs, lats, rhomboids, glutes, quads, hamstrings, etc. Sorry – but only doing wimpy biceps curls will not help you prevent Osteoporosis.
- Do moderate intensity cardiovascular activity at about 60-85% heart rate max. The government of Canada recommends being active at least 2.5 hours a week . Are you getting that? Activities such as skipping and jogging are especially good for building bone because have impact which stimulates more rapid bone development.
- Hire a personal trainer to help you prevent osteoporosis.
- Diet: Stay clear of foods that acidify the blood because this will facilitate further bone loss, such as coffee, soda pop. Avoid high sugar and salt diets. Be sure to include many foods that alkalinize the blood such as vegetables, meats, and alkaline grains (ex. Millet and Quinoa)! Make sure you are eating enough protein since that is the building block for the majority of your bones, and also ensure adequate dietary mineral intake of Ca, Vit D, Mg, etc from sources such as almonds, dark leafy greens, broccoli, etc. For more dietary information please consult a dietician, naturopath, or primary health care provider.
It is important to realize that once you have osteoporosis you cannot reverse it, so it is crucial to plan ahead and take pro-active action against osteoporosis. This is a preventable disease.
For more information, please visit your primary health care provider. Visit your MD and check out osteoporosis.ca for more information about osteoporosis.
- Kennedy, D. Osteoporosis Lecture. CLS 306 Course Notes. 2011. Toronto.