Strategies for Building Stronger Bones
Strategies for Building Stronger Bones
Your bones form the framework for your body. They enable, you to move and they help protect your internal organs. Your bones are alive and ever changing. Each of us have cells that remove bones in our body and other cells that rebuild our bones. This ongoing process is what keeps are bones strong. Old bone is constantly being broken down and replaced with new bone growth. Until your 40’s the rates of breakdown and buildup are relatively balanced. After that bone loss exceeds the rate of new bone growth.
More and more research is finding that resistance training offers numerous health benefits that go far beyond improving muscle strength and athletic performance. Weight lifting builds strong bones. Bones adapt to stress placed on them. For example, when you curl a dumbbell for exercise, the humerus bone must bear the weight of that resistance along with the tension of the biceps muscle pulling on it where this creates growth of new bone itself. That is important for everyone, but particularly women who tend to lose bone density after age 30. Bone mass loss really increases after menopause when estrogen levels drop.
1-2 women over the age of 50 will have a fracture related to osteoporosis in their lifetime. In 5-7 years after menopause, women can lose up to 20% of bone mass leaving them at risk for fracture.
80% of people in the United States with bone thinning conditions called osteoporosis are women. The best way to help prevent or reduce the effects of osteoporosis is to build up as much bone as you can throughout your lifetime. Dairy products, leafy greens, and salmon are just a few of the foods that have natural calcium. Limiting diet sodas and managing proper nutrition during your 20’s and 30’s gives you a boost in building up your “bone reserve”. This sets the stage for how strong our bones are in our 60’s, 70’s, and so on.
Here are some brief recommendations
In our 40’s:
- Know your risk-understand conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, celiac, or Chron’s Disease. These conditions can speed up bone loss.
- Caucasian and Asian women have the greatest risk.
- Focus on supplementing your calcium and Vitamin D intake.
- Choose bone strengthening exercises like walking, jogging, or weight lifting.
In our 50’s
- Increase your calcium intake. At this age 1200 mg of daily calcium supplements is recommended.
- Eat an anti-inflammatory type diet. Include whole grains, fish, and vegetables.
- Talk to your doctor about bone density screening.
In your 60’s:
- Bone density testing is suggested. Often referred to as a Dexascan, this information is paramount to outline your T-score which grades your bone integrity.
- Minimize your fall risk- 1 in 3 people over the age of 65 will fall each year. Wear non-slip shoes, remove throw rugs, and keep hallways and steps well lit. Your doctor may suggest a Fall Risk or Balance Assessment.
In your 70’s:
- Attach railings in bathtubs, showers, and steps.
- Replace wheeled chairs and tables with more stable furniture and keep all pathways clear of clutter.
- Don’t ignore hip and back pain. Sometimes a fracture can go undetected. Tell your doctor if you do develop pain that does not go away.
The best way to prevent or reduce the effects of osteoporosis is to build up as much bone as you can in your earlier years. Build up your reserve when you can. Don’t give up if you are reading this blog later in life. It’s never too late to take care of your bone health.
Know your risk factors, improve upon your diet, and begin a bone strengthening fitness plan today. The benefits of strength training on bones is evident in women in their 80’s and 90’s.
Call The Centers For Advanced Orthopaedics- MMI Division to speak to one of our providers if you have concerns about hip or back pain, risk of thinning bones, or would like to have your balance or fall risk evaluated. We are here to help. Call us at 301-694-8311 or book your appointment today at www.mmidocs.com.