LOW BONE DENSITY – THE IMPORTANCE OF WEIGHT BEARING EXERCISE
A PERSONAL ACCOUNT
A few years ago, a minor health scare saw me undergoing a series of tests, one of which included a DEXA Bone Scan. As a Fitness Instructor and Personal Trainer for over 14 years and prior to that a Competitive Runner, I had no worries about my bone health!
So, imagine my shock when the first set of results revealed Osteopenia, the onset of Osteoporosis. Two years later in 2020 a second DEXA Bone Scan revealed a worsening set of statistics and indeed Osteoporosis in my lumbar spine. I was devastated and extremely concerned.
I felt fit, healthy, strong, energetic, and yet here I was presenting and osteoporotic profile! It did not make sense.
However, much to my surprise, research into this condition showed that 1 in 2 women will develop Osteoporosis especially post menopause and oestrogen levels drop and yet could be walking around unaware of this condition until it is too late, and they fracture a bone!
My mission! Simple! Avoid where possible the need to commence medication, instead looking at ways to increase my bone density, maybe even dream of reversing the effects of weakening bones.
Weight Bearing Exercise in the fight against Osteoporosis
Weight Bearing exercise is vital for bone health. These are exercises you do on your feet so that your bones and muscles must work against gravity to keep you upright. Your bones then react to the weight on them by building themselves up and getting stronger!
There are two types of weight bearing exercise: high impact and low impact. High impact may include running, skipping, aerobics, tennis. Low impact may include walking, stair climbers, elliptical x-trainer machines, low impact aerobics.
Strengthening your muscles too!
Working your muscles too is vital to support the skeleton and prevent fall related fractures. Functional strength and balance training should feature in your workouts too!
You can choose to train with free weights, resistance bands, weight machines or combine any of these with body weight exercises like squats and press ups for example, aiming to include 2-3 strength training sessions each week in your programme.
Other steps to build bone strength
Exercise is vital as are the following measures:
Increase uptake of Vitamin D with superior qualitysupplements and plenty of daylight when the sun out! Foods rich in Vitamin D are oily fish such as sardines, mackerel. Red meats, liver, egg yolks, fortified breakfast cereals etc.
Get plenty of calcium in your diet. Calcium rich foods include leafy green vegetables, dried fruit, tofu, yoghurt etc.
Avoid too much alcohol and do not smoke if possible.
Success can be achieved!
I followed most of the steps listed above and increased my strength training programme, supplemented my diet with high dose Vitamin D, take Osteocare supplements daily and ensure I drink plenty of milk. Good excuse for a Latte!!!!
I am happy to report that my recent DEXA Scan in April 2022 showed a better set of results and an improvement in my bone health, especially in my lumbar spine! I am thrilled!
So, ladies, don’t shy away from strength training. Combine it with a regular form of high or low weight bearing exercise and you will be building not only self confidence but also your bone density! This condition can be reversed!!! Create the building blocks for better bone health!
This blog is for guidance only and does not constitute any advice both directly Or indirectly.