Thankfully, due to the forward thinking of most Americans nowadays, lifting weights is not that uncommon anymore. However, some men and women do not realize how important it is to maintain bone density for their later years. Osteoporosis, a disease linked to low bone density and structural deterioration of bone, is one of the leading causes of hip fractures, wrist fractures, and spine fractures in elderly citizens. This ‘silent threat’ is a major risk factor in the lives of 44 million Americans 55 years of age or older, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation. In addition, there are 10 million people in the country that have the disease and some 30 million more are said to have low bone mass, placing them at risk for Osteoporosis. (Just when you thought you were safe to take your next step….)
Navigating away from being a candidate is not such a difficult task. The name of the game, build bone mass! How do we do that? Well, keep in mind that your bones are comprised of calcium and other vital minerals. There are several reasons why the bones must donate their calcium and other vital minerals, which could lead to decreased bone density. A few reasons may be:
1.) Practicing a diet deficient in minerals.
2.) Practicing a diet that causes a highly acidic environment or diets high in protein.
3.) People who are cola drinkers (due to the phosphoric acid).
All of these cases are great bone robbers! While dipping into the bone’s mineral stores is inevitable, chronic demand leads to osteoporosis. So, cleaning up ones’ diet is helpful and important. The next step is increasing the load!
There is no question that bone will get stronger if you stress it. However, you want to stress it in such a way that you DO NOT get hurt! Yes, walking will help somewhat as it is weight bearing. Yes, a stairclimber may help also. But, there is no substitute for putting good ol’ fashion weight in someone’s hands and ‘alarm’ the body to say, “HEY!” “Heeeeeey….I’m not used to this at all!!” Usually, when the body is ‘stressed’ in what I like to say, ‘a choreographed fashion’, the response is ‘negative’ which is usually good news to you! The body does not like stress and will adapt to its surroundings to make dealing with this stress easier. If picking up a 10lb dumbbell was difficult for you and you continued to become sore from doing it, the body would soon realize it would need to adapt to this stress and the body would no longer become sore and you would be able to pick up that 10lb dumbbell. That is until you move to the 12lb dumbbell!! And the process begins all over again. That is the magic. The body will adapt to this ‘negative stimulus’ and make it positive by increasing the body’s ability to handle the stress. And too, as a result, the BONE will get stronger as the increasing stress on the body continues. This causes the body to lay down more bone mass to deal with the increased loads on the body. Science is great ain’t it??
In summation, bone health is critical to preventing Osteoporosis and other diseases related to bone density. Bone density disorders can be simply avoided by practicing a diet that is not overwhelming in protein, rich in minerals so the body does not rob the bone of its minerals, and placing a stress on the musculo-skeletal system in a safe, yet overbearing manner that causes the body to lay down more bone mass to deal with the stress. You may also benefit from a blood workup and good advice from a nutritionist or dietitian about acid/alkalinity balance in the body and what specific dietary considerations you may need to consider. In addition, a qualified fitness instructor that can help you build that bone mass at the prevention level, not when you’re in danger of becoming osteoporotic! So don’t be a procrastinator! Get a move on it! I’ll give you 212 reasons why you should!