Blog Post - News, Views and Tips
Did you know that adults replace their entire skeleton every 10 years! However, from our mid thirties our body starts to lose more bone than it replaces, but fortunately you can take steps to reduce this loss. By following this advice, and arming yourself with the knowledge for a healthier skeleton, you can help slow down the deterioration.
I recently read some information from the National Osteoporosis Society that I really wanted to share with you, as so many people are unaware of the the importance of looking after their bones.
Osteoporosis is a condition in which bone is fragile and breaks more easily. It sounds quite harmless but actually has devastating effects on peoples lives. The stats are that in the UK, one in two women and one in five men over the age of 50 will fracture a bone as a result of Osteoporosis. However, the onset of Osteoporosis starts much earlier than this and early action can be vital to improving outcomes. The word ‘Osteoporosis’ means porous bone and sadly a fracture is often the first sign. Who would have realised that just changing a stiff gear in the car can be enough to break a brittle bone.
Bones must be used regulary or they will deteriorate, exactly like muscles atrophy if you don’t use them. The skeleton is your support structure and is alive so responds well to challenge. The normal loading of the skeleton is the pull of working muscles on your bones, and the force of gravity acting on your body weight. Did you know that astronauts that live in a gravity free environment lose significant bone density. Women of slight build, or tall thin women, are more at risk, as are women who have had the menopause or have had a hysterectomy. It is also worth checking to see if you have a family history, as this is another risk factor. Other people at risk are heavy drinkers of alcohol, smokers, people on steroids, people with Thyroid problems (such as me), people with gut or kidney conditions, or taking the contraceptive pill. Diet also has a huge influence on your chances of developing Osteoporosis, with anorexics particularly at risk. It would be great if society perceptions changed, and understood that skinny people aren’t actually healthy, unlike people in the healthy weight range.
Typical bone weak spots are the wrist, spine and hips. So what can we do to strengthen our bones?
Exercise your bones – Research says that the best exercise is brief bouts of exercise that load the skeleton. Swimming and cycling are great for joints, but of no benefit to bone health. Just one minute a day of jogging, skipping, jumping, taking the stairs or using a step block are enough to start improvements. Also adding some weight bearing exercise to your regime would be a huge benefit. Just make sure you get advice from a trainer who knows how to teach you safe techniques.
Feed your bones – Bone friendly foods containing nutrients like calcium, magnesium and Vitamins D & K are vitally important. These include dark green vegetables like spinach and broccoli, yogurt, beans, pulses, oily fish like pilchards and sardines (if you eat the bones), some brands of orange juice, eggs, liver, brazil nuts, bananas, sesame seeds, pine nuts and water cress. In fact all fruit and veg have been shown to help with improved bone density, though the ones listed have more benefit. Be careful not to over consume protein, salt, fizzy drinks, alcohol and caffeine as these would act against anything you do to try maintain bone density.
Above all, try to maintain a healthy weight, as dieting to lose too much weight has a negative impact on bone health. Women that have more fat on them, but are at the top end of their healthy range are at a lower risk of a osteoporatic fracture, this is because the extra fat acts as a cushion if they fall, and the extra fat pulling on the bone means the bone itself is more dense.
Therefore as I’ve said before in a previous post, sometimes it’s good to learn to love our chubby bits!