Osteoporosis & You – Part II

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By Dr. Sender Deutsch
Published on December 18, 2015

OsteoporosisEXERCISE & BONE DENSITY: THE BENEFIT OF TRAINING

Exercise is one of the best defenses along with good nutritional habits to help most health problems. As we mentioned previously, osteoporosis is a condition that can be prevented and reversed. Through weight bearing exercises, we overload the tissues and bones, which respond to the mechanical stress and cause bone deposition to occur.  Training with heavy weights is very important in order to stimulate the release of growth hormone and testosterone in both men and women, which will aid in triggering the desired bone response.  Jumping, running, skipping and other forms of weight bearing activity that induce high stress to our skeletal system will cause the desired adaptions to occur.

Proper exercise cannot only slow bone loss, but can also add new bone. Small gains in bone mineral can result in large improvements in bone strength because new bone formation is often localized to bone surfaces where mechanical strains (stresses) are greatest.

Resistance exercises allow for calcium and magnesium to be better absorbed by your bone. If you never stress the bones (sedentary lifestyle is the main factor for most people), the body assumes that there is no need to hold on to bone minerals, and the bones become weak.  The type, frequency, mode and length of exercise sessions are critical to making a real difference with respect to combating osteoporosis.  Losing weight in a healthy manner is also important, especially with women; dropping a lot of weight too quickly or through unsafe methods can actually increase the risk of osteoporosis and other health problems.

Great exercises such as squats, lunges, bench press, push-ups, pull-ups or pull-downs, skipping and jumping exercises are best, as the muscles pull on the bones to increase bone density.  The jumping activities are amazing for stimulating the bones as well as they are weight-bearing exercises.

NUTRITION AND BONE HEALTH

Eating a healthy diet is also a key component to maintaining bone density. Our bones require many nutrients, vitamins and minerals to maintain adequate strength and durability.  An adequate supply of both calcium and vitamin D as children and adolescents is essential to support healthy bone growth.  As we age, we should continue to increase the intake of nutrients, as this can reduce bone and preserve bone mass.  Since both the body’s calcium absorption capabilities as well as its ability to activate vitamin D decline with age, it becomes critical that an individual’s diet is providing more than enough of these nutrients to maintain good health and take a proactive measure to avoid osteoporosis.

There are many calcium sources that can be incorporated into a daily diet to ensure individuals are meeting their adequate intake of dairy products.  Eating milk, yogurt and cheese are the best, as they are the most direct and abundant sources of calcium. However, there are also non-milk sources such as tofu, almonds, sesame seeds, bok choy, kale, parsnips, watercress and broccoli, which can be incorporated into a balanced diet and provide a significant amount of calcium per serving as well.

DRUG THERAPYOsteoporosis

The NOF states that initiating pharmacologic interventions should only be utilized in women and men aged 50 and older who present with a hip or vertebral fracture identified on x-ray and a BMD test demonstrating a weak femoral neck of the hip joint (T-score of -2.5 or less).  Drug therapy includes the use of bisphosphonates, selective estrogen-receptor modulator (SERM), raloxifene, calcitonin and denosumab which are all designed to decrease bone loss.  All drug therapies are meant to be taken with proper nutrition, exercise and calcium and vitamin D to enhance their effectiveness.

CONCLUSION

Scientific research exemplifies the effects of exercise and nutrition to bone health. Making healthy lifestyle choices is always very important, regardless of whether you have been diagnosed with this condition or not. Prevention is the key and it is never too early to start.  Teaching children at a young age to eat healthy and exercise is important to start their early path towards their likelihood of having strong muscles and bones.

Working with a qualified professional who knows about osteoporosis, how to train someone with it, and how to prevent bone loss, is also extremely important in order to derive maximum benefit and avoid future complications.

Remember exercise is the only drug with no negative side effects and helps all disorders and diseases!

http://www.osteoporosis.ca

 

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