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Exercising for Bone Health

Updated: Jan 22, 2023

We're all aware that it’s important to look after our bones as we get older. Bones matter because they have a vital job to do, working with our muscles to help us move and be active. Bones are alive and changing – they get stronger when we use them. They also protect our organs, store minerals and produce blood cells.

Osteoporosis is a condition where bones lose strength, making them more vulnerable to breaking after a minor fall or bump. From our late 30s the amount of bone tissue starts to decrease (our bone density) and this loss of strength speeds up after the menopause because of our falling levels of oestrogen. But, according to the Royal Osteoporosis Society, it’s never too late to make changes to take care of your bones.

It's as important to look after your bones as it is your heart or your brain and of course, a healthy diet provides the nutrients we need. Calcium is important for strong bones so if you don’t eat dairy foods, make sure your alternatives are fortified with calcium. Vitamin D helps the body to absorb calcium so some time in the sun or a vitamin D supplement are also important.

The best ways to keep your risk of Osteoporosis to a minimum, or to reduce its severity, is by not smoking or drinking too much alcohol and by keeping your weight healthy as you get older. Unfortunately, Osteoporosis is more prevalent in older women and we can’t stop the ageing process.

The best exercise to do for our bone health is:

1. Low impact weight bearing exercise like walking, aerobics and dancing (Zumba Gold is perfect!) using your own body weight to pull against your skeleton to strengthen it.

2. Muscle strengthening exercise like our Lift online class using hand weights, a resistance band or your body weight. Over time, you can increase the weight or stiffness of the band if you can.

A mix of these types of exercise should be spaced out two or three times per week. If you can add in some balance work with a Gentle Pilates class (check with Gemma first), you’ll be well on the way to withstanding trips and falls - stronger bones are less likely to break.

If you are pre-osteoporotic or have Osteoporosis, get in touch with Gemma to find out which exercise classes would be perfect for you.

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