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  • Charlie Gordon

Osteoporosis & building resilience through targeted exercise

How to exercise to reduce risk of Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a medical condition characterized by a loss of bone density, which leads to an increased risk of fractures, particularly in the hips, spine, and wrists.

The main cause of osteoporosis is an imbalance between the formation of new bone and the breakdown of old bone. This process is known as bone remodelling. As we age, the rate of bone remodelling slows down, and the bones become weaker.

These are some factors that influence bone density

  • Lack of calcium and vitamin D: These nutrients are essential for maintaining strong bones.

  • Hormone imbalances: Low levels of estrogen and testosterone, which occur naturally with aging, can lead to bone loss.

  • Lifestyle factors: Smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and sedentary lifestyle can increase the risk of osteoporosis.

  • Medical conditions: diseases such as hyperthyroidism, inflammatory bowel disease, and celiac disease, can increase the risk of osteoporosis.

  • Medications: Certain medications can increase the risk of osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is a silent disease, often showing no symptoms until a fracture occurs. It's important to have a bone density test to diagnose osteoporosis and to start treatment as soon as possible. There are numerous studies that have shown the positive effects of exercise on bone density and reversing osteoporosis. It is important to note the importance of the type of exercise and how it is performed.

Exercise stimulates new bone growth by putting stress on the bones, which triggers bone cells called osteoblasts to build new bone. Weight-bearing, strength, and impact exercises have been shown to be effective ways of stimulating new bone growth.

Before embarking on any exercise program, it is important to speak to a Doctor to make sure it is suitable for your individual situation.

Weight bearing exercises

Exercises which require you to support the weight of your body through your bones will load the skeleton and stimulate bone growth. examples of these exercises include squats and deadlifts

Strength exercises

Exercises which build muscular strength will improve bone density, improve risk of falling and improve hormone levels.

Impact exercises

Exercises that repeatedly stress your bones such as jumping and skipping will stimulate bone growth. these exercises build springiness and power which reduce the risk of falling.

Lifestyle changes to increase bone density.

  1. Diet: Eating a diet that is rich in calcium and vitamin D is important for maintaining healthy bones. Good sources of calcium include milk, yogurt, cheese, leafy greens, and fortified foods. Vitamin D can be found in fatty fish, egg yolks, and fortified foods. work with a qualified dietitian to create an eating plan which is best for you.

  2. Quit smoking: Smoking can increase the risk of osteoporosis, by decreasing the amount of estrogen in the body and increasing the amount of bone loss.

  3. Limit alcohol consumption: Excessive alcohol consumption can increase the risk of osteoporosis.

  4. Maintaining a healthy weight: Being overweight or underweight will affect your body’s hormone levels, and interfere with normal bone modelling processes

  5. Get enough sleep: Sleep is important for maintaining healthy bones.

Exercise has been shown to be an effective way of stimulating new bone growth, with weight-bearing, strength, and impact exercises being particularly beneficial. In addition to exercise, lifestyle changes such as eating a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D, quitting smoking, limiting alcohol consumption, maintaining a healthy weight, and getting enough sleep, can also help to increase bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

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