Take Control of Your Future Take Control of Your OSTEOPOROSIS

  • 29 July, 2019

We all know someone who has taken a tumble, broken a hip or a vertebra, and never really recovered. And you’ve probably said, “I hope that
never happens to me.”

Unfortunately, statistics say that about 55% of Americans (men and women) over the age of 50 have low bone mass or osteoporosis, so the chances are high that it will affect you or someone you love.

Osteoporosis literally means porous bones. If you cut a bone in half, the structure is a little like honeycomb, with lots of little cells. Calcium fills that honeycomb and strengthens the bone. In osteoporosis, the calcium that normally fills those spaces, has been leached out of the bone. This is most likely due to nutritional deficiencies, genetics, certain prescription medications (proton pump inhibitors, corticosteroids), and other environmental factors (alcohol, smoking, soda consumption). It is not gender specific, even though we most often hear of osteoporosis in
women, men account for 20-25% of all hip fractures associated with osteoporosis.

But here is the good news no matter your gender. Staying active significantly reduces the rate of fractures. And combined with healthy diet and adequate sunshine, therapeutic EXERCISE has been proven to increase bone density -reversing the disease and the associated risk.

There are 2 types of exercises that will help stave off osteoporosis- Weight bearing AND Muscle Strengthening.

Weight bearing exercise sends signals to the skeletal bone that it must remain strong, and the body responds by laying down extra calcium to fortify the bones.

Weight bearing exercises include: Walking, Jogging, Climbing Stairs, Jumping Rope, Playing Sports, Cardio Machines (elliptical, treadmill), Dancing, Cardio Dance Classes (Zumba)- or anything that you do standing with weight on the head of the long bones. Weight bearing exercise can be classified low or high impact. Most exercises that are done without the aid of machines or include jumping or bouncing are considered high impact. However, If you already have osteoporosis or weakened bones, please consult your physician, as high impact could worsen your condition. Machine exercise like using the elliptical is considered low impact.

Not sure which one is right for you? Start with the basics (walking) or machines and work your way up.

Muscle strengthening (resistance) exercise sends messages to your brain about the flexibility of your bones. When you move, your connective tissues pulls against the bone. Strong bone will not give way, but weakened bones give and bend. This signals the brain that reinforcement is needed, and the body responds by laying down additional calcium to the empty spaces to strengthen the skeleton.

Whether you choose dumbbells, balls, bands or jugs of water, all forms of resistance can provide the necessary stimulus.

However, folks who are new to exercises tend to prefer bands, as they are easy to use, and won’t hurt if you happen to drop them on your toe.

The following is a short list of band exercises to try. All can be performed with an inexpensive set of rubber tube bands with handles, easily purchased at most discount stores.


Bent over Row: Stand with feet on a band holding both handles. Keep your back flat, shoulders back, and stomach tight. Pull the bands back, scrubbing the elbows along the ribcage, and pushing the chest forward.
Chest Pull: With straight arms, grab a band with hands shoulder width apart. Stretch the band. Keep your shoulders back, and in line with your hands.
Bicep Curl: Step on the band with both feet, grab both handles. Keeping the rest of your body still, bend the elbows bringing the handles toward the shoulder. DO not bounce or jerk. Slow controlled motion. Keep elbows squeezed into the ribcage throughout the movement.
Lateral Raise: Step on band in the middle. Keep your knees soft, core tight, chin lifted, and shoulders back. Grab one end by the handle. Leave the other on the ground. Lift until the hand is in line with the shoulder. Don’t jerk or bounce. Do both sides.
Leg Press: Sit in a sturdy chair with a band around one foot at the instep. Bend the leg and remove the slack in the band. Push that foot out, pressing the heel forward to stretch the band. Move slowly an in control. Do both legs.
Calf Press: Sit in a sturdy chair with a band around the ball of one foot. Straighten the leg and remove the slack in the band. Push the ball of the foot forward to stretch the band. Move slowly an in control. Do both legs.’

Osteoporosis and the resulting fractures that it can bring, may not be the scariest diagnosis out there, but it does not have to mean fractures and frailty. Now that you know there is something that you can do to prevent, maybe even reverse osteoporosis, shouldn’t you try it?

Take control of your future. Don’t wait until you need rehab. Get active now. Try some band exercises or TaiChi or Zumba. Join a gym or just spend more time doing the activities you love…

…Your bones will be glad you did.

And if you want to know more, the skilled trainers at the TheGym can help. Stop by and see us. We accept Silver Sneakers. Visit www.TheGymGA.com to learn more.

Categories: Article, Local Health

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