Osteoporosis is a frightening disease. There are cases of brittle bones crumbling under the weight of a seatbelt, or even during a sneeze.
According to Osteoporosis Canada 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men will suffer from an osteoporotic fracture in their lifetime.
Our Skeletal System consists of 206 bones that perform functions like support, movement, protection, blood cell production, and calcium storage. Osteoporosis slowly weakens the bones. It often goes undetected until there is a fracture. It cannot be reversed or cured. In some cases, depending on how advanced it is, it can be slowed. The question is, how do we avoid it in the first place?
The approach I have taken is that I assume that I have it. It’s there within me, lying dormant. As I get older it is starting to awaken. The only way I can keep it at bay is to stay as strong as I can. Over and over again I say to clients: exercise, good nutrition, and rest are the best forms of medicine available to us. I appreciate that it takes time to stay in shape, eat well, and get 7-8 hours of sleep a night but it is worth it.
There is a great amount of information regarding improving bone health by consuming calcium and doing weight-bearing exercises. It’s not quite that simple. First of all, calcium will only be absorbed if the bones are stressed. To stress a bone there has to be some form of impact that comes from doing a weight bearing activity. And while walking is a weight bearing exercise, unless you’re walking on your hands it will not keep the bones in your wrist strong. That’s where strength training comes in. Opening jars is not the only reason to do push-ups.
I am so fortunate that I have not broken a bone in my life (except for my nose, and that was in a snowball fight when I was 15 years old). I do fall from time-to-time. I always do that quick assessment of “Is anything broken?” I now refer to those incidents as my Self Administered Bone Density tests. I haven’t been for a real one yet, but I’m sure it will happen sometime soon so that I have a baseline. It’s one test I really want to ace. So I will continue to train for it by exercising, eating well, and getting lots of rest.
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