By: Dr. Beth Templin
Bone health is an important aspect of aging. Just like there are many false beliefs about aging in general, there are also many misconceptions about bone health and aging. Here are some of the big ones:
Bone loss happens earlier than you think!
If you thought weak bones were something that didn't happen until "old age", then I have some news for you. We reach our peak bone density in our 30's and then start losing a small percent of our bone mass every year after. Women experience a rapid bone loss during the first 5-10 years after beginning menopause, losing up to 30% by the time they reach 70!
The important point I'm trying to make is that it's never too early to make your bone health a priority and make changes in your life to keep them healthy and strong. Your job now is to minimize your bone loss as much as possible.
Bone is a living tissue.
Bones are constantly being broken down and built back up in your body. This means you have the ability to influence the quality of your bones!
As you age, you begin to lose bone mass because the bone cells in your body are breaking down your bones faster than they are being rebuilt. This leads to your bones getting thinner and becoming more brittle. When your bone becomes weak enough, you develop osteopenia which can eventually progress to osteoporosis in the more advanced stages.
Osteoporosis predisposes adults to complications including fractures, most commonly in the wrist, hip and spine. These injuries can lead to decreased mobility, loss of independence and increased pain.
Osteoporosis can also contribute to poor posture and decreased height. This can lead to many other medical issues and complications.
Once you begin to have a poor posture, you actually start to throw off your balance. Your body is no longer in good alignment and it begins to affect your center of gravity.
Another common problem with poor posture is added stress on your internal organs, particularly your heart and lungs. When you're hunched over, your rib cage is unable to move as much, so it puts more pressure on your heart and lungs.
The Good News.
No matter your age, you can slow the loss of bone and prevent the onset of osteopenia and the progression to osteoporosis by participating in activities that focus on putting weight through your joints such as walking, jogging, running, hiking, climbing stairs, and dancing.
Another way to slow bone loss and to help rebuild bone mass is to participate in a regular strength training program. When you strength train, the muscles pull on the bone, giving it a signal to rebuild stronger.
Other interventions to help prevent the loss of bone are proper diet, which includes getting enough Calcium and Vitamin D and avoiding certain foods, which are considered to be bone depleting. Physicians may even prescribe certain medications to slow the bone loss down.
Ready to get started? Come try our Strength Class to fight bone loss!
Dr. Beth helps adults 55+ maximize their independence and fitness, so they can continue to enjoy a full and active life.