To mark World Osteoporosis Day and to help raise awareness practice partner Helen MacDevitt offers tips and advice.
Osteoporosis is a disease in which the density and quality of bone are reduced, leading to weakness of the skeleton and increased risk of fracture, particularly of the spine, hip and wrist.
Osteoporosis affects 200,000 Irish people (women AND men!) and results in 18,000 fractures annually, costing the state a whopping €653 million in health care! Ireland has one of the highest rates of hip fractures in the world!
Am I at risk?
The bad news is, if you are female, have had children, are over 50, are have a mother or father with a history of osteoporosis then you have a higher predisposition.
The good news however is that, if you don’t smoke, drink alcohol in moderation (less than 14 units a week), reduce caffeine, consume calcium and vitamin D rich foods (diary, broccoli, almonds for eg) and take regular weightbearing exercise, you can reduce the likelihood of developing osteoporosis significantly!
So what kind of exercise is helpful?
The message is ‘Move it or Lose it’ when it comes to bone density. A worrying fact is that women who sit for more than nine hours a day are 50% more likely to have a hip fracture than those who sit for less than six hours a day.
Just like muscles, bones respond when they are “stressed,” in other words, when they are forced to bear more weight than they are used to. This can be achieved by “weight bearing” or impact exercises such as walking, running, lifting weights, jumping, skipping or dancing. Ten times up and down an average flight of steps (10-12 steps) is a 1/3rd of your daily weightbearing requirements. So during your working day, take the stairs instead of the lift, consider jogging on the spot for a minute or 2 or get out for a short walk….. it all adds up!
So to look after your bone health, remember the key things:
Bone mass and exercise are inextricably linked.
Exercise, in addition to a healthy diet and lifestyle, can help to maintain your bone density and slow down the process that leads to osteoporosis.
By improving balance, strength, and agility, exercise helps prevent falls that lead to fractures.
Impact and weight bearing exercises are best – consider skipping, jogging or weight training instead of swimming or cycling.
For further information and advice http://www.worldosteoporosisday.org/5-steps-better-bone-health