Osteoporosis will affect ¼ women and 1/7 men. Those stats are high enough that we all need to be doing everything we can to prevent/manage osteoporosis from the time we are young. If you haven’t started yet – it is NEVER too late and you can always make a positive impact on your body.
What is osteoporosis? Osteoporosis causes bones to become weak and brittle — so brittle that a fall or even mild stresses such as bending over or coughing can cause a fracture. Osteoporosis-related fractures most commonly occur in the hip, wrist, or spine.
What if everyone in my family has it? Is there any point? Won’t I just get it anyway? YES, there is a point! Everyone in my family has it and that motivates me to work EXTRA HARD at prevention. This might not necessarily prevent me from getting it but can absolutely impact how young I am when it sets in as well as what kind of an impact it has on my health.
Two women in my family who are sisters both have the same osteoporosis. One has done everything she can from a fitness and nutrition perspective to prevent her osteoporosis – she has great posture, accomplishes activities of daily life with ease and still leads a very active life. The other has taken the meds prescribed by her doctor but hasn’t done much else. She now has her rib cage resting on her pelvis, experiences lots of pain, has a difficult time with daily life activities and is no longer able to lead an active life.
How to prevent/delay/manage osteo?
1 – Strength train! Resistance training builds stronger bones. Learn to train properly so that you can safely work with appropriately heavy-weights.
2 – Functional Fitness! Build strength and balance in your natural range of motion. Skip the weight machines at the gym and instead focus on things like squats, lunges, deadlifts, overhead press, pushups, (assisted if necessary) pullups. All of these movements can be modified safely for all fitness levels – hiring a trainer is a great way to be sure that you are doing these movements correctly at appropriate weights based on your health and current fitness level.
3 – Posture Work! One of the most obvious signs of osteoporosis is failing posture and kyphosis. As soon as your head starts to come forward, gravity will start pulling you down. To combat this: work on your upper back muscles, stretch your pecs and front of neck. Some of my favourite moves for posture are: wall angels, superhumans, ring/trx row, supported fish, and a pec stretch in a door frame!
4 – Impact movements! If your osteoporosis is quite advanced please skip this step but in terms of prevention, impact is a really important part of building strong bones. Again please scale appropriately based on your current fitness level and health 🙂
5 – Balance work! Regardless of whether your osteo is full-blown or just something you hope to avoid, include balance work in your routine. Fractures happen when we fall so set yourself up for success by always working on your balance!
6 – Nutrition! There are SO MANY amazing foods that boost your health, are full of calcium and that are great for your overall health. Similarly, there are so many foods that aren’t great for your body that will impact how your body absorbs calcium. Get educated and adjust your diet for maximum health and bone density!
Not sure where to start? That’s where people like me come in! Bringing an experienced, knowledgeable trainer into your life can help you safely make progressive changes to your health and fitness and set you up for a longer and healthier life – with healthier bones, great balance and strong muscles to support your bones and posture.