Get Active to Build Bone Strength

by on May 24th, 2011 at 7:00 am

If you’re a woman over the age of 50, researchers estimate that you have a 1 in 5 chance of developing osteoporosis, a condition characterized by the gradual loss of the normal density of bone.

Over time, this condition causes bones to become porous, weak and brittle, thus increasing the risk of fractures of the spine and hip. Osteoporosis is often referred to as a silent disease because there are no symptoms in its early stages.

Men are also at risk, but the condition is especially common in menopausal and post-menopausal women.

The benefits of exercise

On the bright side, health experts agree that it is never too late to increase the health and density of your bones! One of the greatest ways you can help prevent osteoporosis is through exercise. While high activity levels during youth greatly decreases the risk, partaking in at least 30 minutes a day of strength training, weight-bearing aerobics, and exercises that increase flexibility, balance and stability even later in life can still offer benefits.

Some good strength training exercises:

  • Free weights
  • Resistance bands
  • Weight machines

Some good weight-bearing aerobics:

  • Dancing
  • Low-impact aerobics
  • Gardening
  • Hiking
  • Jogging

What else you should do

In addition, it’s important to have adequate intake of calcium. 1,000 mg daily is recommended for everyone over the age of eight years while a higher intake is recommended for teens (1,300 mg) and adults over 50 years (1,200 mg). Dairy products, dark green leafy vegetables, dried fruit (apricots or figs), fish, soy and tofu are all good sources. Vitamin D is equally important to strengthen muscles and help absorb calcium.

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