How to Prevent Bone Loss

Written by Rita Kennen

We'll apologize ahead of time. This is a story on boning up to keep yourself fit and strong.

If your commute includes a walk, load and carry a weighty backpack. The extra weight improves your walk as the kind of workout that prevents osteoporosis, a disease causing such dangerous thinning of bone that a simple act can bring serious fracture.
Nutrition for Aging
Bones are living tissue. Just like muscle, you use it or lose it.
Men become victims of osteoporosis as well as women.
Approximately 1.5 million fractures a year are caused by osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is 100 percent preventable, through diet, exercise and lifestyle changes.
Walk briskly whenever you have the chance, and feel free to pound your heels.
Simple everyday activities can cause fractures for women with osteoporosis.  
Boning Up on Osteoporosis
In fact, although some women develop osteoporosis as early as age 20 or 30,the disease usually goes undetected until a seemingly minor fall results in a serious fracture. The National Osteoporosis Foundation blames osteoporosis for 1.5 million fractures each year. A walk around the block can be a dangerous venture to someone with osteoporotic bones.
The numbers of Americans afflicted with osteoporosis is expected to double in the next century. Osteoporosis isn't just a woman's disease. Probably the most common bone disease in the United States, osteoporosis affects 28 million Americans, 80 percent of them women.
And yet with proper nutrition, dietary supplements and exercise, this disease is 100 percent preventable, says the Foundation.
Your bones are alive. Your bones are living tissue that grows stronger with exercise. Putting physical stress on your bones contracts muscle and stimulates bone growth. To build mass and density, your bones need three different kinds of exercise: weight-bearing, impact loading and resistance exercises.
"Resistance exercises, such as weight-lifting, use muscular strength to improve muscle mass and strengthen bone", says Molly Natchipolsky, spokesperson for the National Osteoporosis Foundations. "If all you've been doing is swimming and bicycling, think about adding another form of exercise to your fitness regime, since neither of these are weight-bearing exercise," she adds. Consider jogging, walking, stair-climbing, dancing and soccer — any exercise that works against gravity.
Here are some tips for maximizing the impact of your workout on bone mass and density:
Weight-bearing: Carry weight on your bones. Walking is a good weight-bearing exercise and even more beneficial if you carry a heavy backpack. Take one to work if you commute by walking.
Impact Loading: Pounding those feet makes a difference. Both speed and impact improve walking as the weight-bearing exercise you need to prevent osteoporosis. Jumping rope is a great impact-loading exercise, too.
Resistance Training: The hottest topic among exercise physiologists is resistance training. This is exercise in which your muscles work against an opposing force, such as in lifting weights. Resistance training actually builds bone density where the muscles attach.
"To minimize your chance of injury, check with a fitness professional before starting a weight training program," says Natchipolsky. "If you start feeling stiff or sore, decrease the amount of weight and repetitions by 25 percent and see if it helps."
An additional plus of exercising is that it improves blood circulation to your bones.

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