Osteoporosis and Exercise

Osteoporosis is known as a silent disease. Early in the bone loss process, you may not see any signs, but eventually it can lead to broken bones, the disfiguring dowager’s hump, loss of height and certain types of back pain.

Throughout life, your body loses bone. New bone grows to replace lost bone. The rate of new bone growth changes as you age. Young adults reach their peak bone mass between the ages of 25 and 35. That is when your bone is the strongest. From about 35 years and older, bone mass slowly declines and that’s were weight bearing exercise becomes important to maintain and / or build bone density.

A rate at which your bone declines can be minimized and osteoporosis can be preventable. An active lifestyle, weight-bearing exercise and proper eating can significantly slow down the rate of bone loss. Eating foods rich in calcium and vitamin D will help protect your bones. Weight-bearing exercise will help your entire body and help you maintain bone mass. Resistance exercises help maintain bones by strengthening the muscles around them. Building muscle strength will make you less prone to injury. Non-weight bearing exercise, such as swimming or water exercise may help prevent back strain and pain by building muscles in your trunk and legs.

Osteoporosis affects men and women alike. The risk factors include heredity decreased hormones, lack of physical activity, inadequate calcium and vitamin D, certain medications, smoking, too much caffeine and too much alcohol.

The best way to see if you have low bone density or osteoporosis and are at increased risk for breaking a bone is to have a bone density test. This is a simple, painless and noninvasive exam by using sound waves or small amounts of radiation to determine the thickness or density of bones. Talk to your doctor or health care provider to determine if you are at risk and the possibilities of being tested.

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