Osteoporosis is a disease which gradually develops over a period of years. The resulting loss of bone tissue can leave those afflicted with very weak and fragile bones. If preventive measures are not taken, untreated osteoporosis can progress unnoticed for decades until a fracture occurs.
In the U.S., 10 million people have osteoporosis and 34 million more have low bone mass and therefore are at a high risk for this disease.
The World Health Organization established 4 diagnostic categories to identify various levels of bone density, comparative to young healthy individuals.
Although over 2 million American men suffer from osteoporosis & many more are at risk, the most common form of this disease affects post menopausal women and often results in fractures of the hip, wrist, or spine.
The 3 most significant factors contributing to post menopausal osteoporosis are believed to be:
Low levels of estrogen, associated with menopause, accelerates bone loss.
Insufficient amounts of calcium & vitamin D in the diet. Calcium is vital to the development & maintenance of strong bones and vitamin D is required to absorb calcium from the foods we eat.
Lack of physical activity (common among many adults today) is believed to contribute to lower bone density because the skeleton is not being taxed enough to stimulate new bone growth.
At this time there is no known cure for osteoporosis however treatment can slow and even reverse its effects. Estrogen drugs and calcium supplements may actually reverse bone loss, however their effectiveness diminishes over time.
To prevent osteoporosis, it is recommended that we consume a diet rich in calcium, lead an active lifestyle which includes frequent weight-bearing exercise, such as walking, stair climbing, aerobic exercise and resistance training to develop the muscles that support the skeleton.
Lifestyle Changes That Can Help
Why Exercise is So Important for Preventing Osteoporosis
Our bones are living, growing tissue that respond to weight-bearing exercise by growing denser & stronger, similar to the way our muscles react to exercise. Younger active people produce more new bone tissue than they lose, therefore bone density increases. Generally we achieve maximum bone density & strength (peak bone mass) around the age of 30. Bone density gradually begins to decline as we age and become less active. For women, bone loss is usually most rapid during the first few years after menopause. We now know that exercise, diet & minor lifestyle changes can slow & even reverse the bone loss that usually occurs as we age.
If you would like to reduce your risk of osteoporosis, increase your bone density and slow or reverse the normal bone loss associated with aging, Be Fit Over Fifty can help you get started.
Susan Branco, the Founder of Be Fit Over Fifty, is a member of the National Osteoporosis Foundation, the National Council on Aging and the American Senior Fitness Association. Susan also teaches the "Osteo Exercise & Educate" program for NCH Healthcare System's Wellness Center in Naples, Florida. Her experience with osteo clients and the positive results that they have obtained from her exercise routines can help you to increase your bone density & combat osteoporosis.
Be Fit Over Fifty has an Osteoporosis Exercise program for you regardless of your age or fitness level. For a detailed description, click on the program below that best suites your needs. All of the following programs include Osteoporosis Information (Things you should Know about Osteoporosis) & Weight Loss Tips.
Osteoporosis exercise information & resources:
National Osteoporosis Foundation
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