Improving your bone health can be easier—and more fun—than you may think.
Posted January 30, 2012
Even your bones have gotten weaker with age, and now your latest DXA shows some density loss. You’ve entered a category that increases your fracture risk because your bone test shows more porous pockets than normal bone.
Hang on to your wig, I’ve got a fantastic exercise option for your osteopenia diagnosis.
Let’s back up a moment, how did you wind up with porous bones anyway? We’ve got 5 major contributors to bones becoming weaker as we age: smoking; too much alcohol; not enough vitamin D and calcium; certain medications; and skimping on weight-bearing exercises on a regular basis.
It’s that fifth one that we’re going to showcase for you with some really good options.
You see, weight-bearing exercises help build bone. Everyday options include: walking, dancing, free weights, hiking, Pilates, and resistance bands.
How’s it do that?
Your muscles are attached to your bones, muscles pull on those bones. This is how we move. Physiologically, this pull stimulates your bones to build on themselves. Most weight-bearing exercises, where your feet are in contact with the ground, are considered excellent for improving your bone density. Denser bones, especially in your hips and spine, will give you a better frame to actively move about.
Regular exercise can help you prevent falls and fractures in three ways. First, it’s that pull on the bones that stimulates more bone. Better bone is stronger bone. Stronger, denser bone is less susceptible to easy breakage.
Second, these exercises are not limited to only physical improvement. Any of these trains your body awareness. That means it hones in on improving your balance and coordination simply because you have to pay attention. Attention and awareness form a great partnership.
And third, the effects of your exercise infiltrate every other system in your body. You’ll improve your cardiovascular, digestive, nervous, and immune system too. Improving your fitness is also improving your health for a fully integrated body.
Let’s make this real simple to get you moving. Use resistance bands. Period.
Your first clue is in the name ‘resistance.’ That’s weight-bearing. Resistance bands are one of the easiest, safest, and best ways to start doing weight-bearing exercises today. They serve on several fronts. Bands will not only help you build bone, they’ll engage your core; train balance and coordination; and will improve your mood because they are so fun! That sounds a bit corny, but I’m serious on that—you’ll see soon.
New bone is made by responding to the increased stress from the weight-bearing exercises. So, if it’s the increased stress on our bones that makes new bone, it makes sense to vary the type of exercise, not just repeat the same old. Change it up, right? Or...add in a variation. Believe it or not, bone growth is subject to boredom too.
Resistance bands can stand alone beautifully as a solid workout. But the boon of bands is that they can also be combined with your walking routine, weight program, gardening gig, and even your unchoreographed, homemade dance skit.
Resistance bands are a fantastic exercise option for osteopenia. Let’s get you going on using bands as part of your new workout.
To get started you’ll need 3 things:
- a pair of bands
- a basic lesson on usage of bands
- an easy place at home to get started
I’m going to give you that basic basic beginner lesson in the video below.
For now, the simplest place to attach your bands is at the top of a doorway. Make sure that doorway has about 8 feet of space from which you can move out and have clearance on your sides about the width of your arm span.
Here’s how we begin.
Lisa Byrne is the owner and CEO of Pilates for Sport in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. She has a B.S. in Exercise Physiology, and is a Certified Pilates Instructor. Lisa has been in the Health and Fitness Industry for more than 23 years, operating her fully-equipped Pilates studio since 1999. Visitors to the movement studio span a wide range of physiques and abilities, and include average boomers looking for diversity; young people with Asperger's-Autism; hard-core athletes looking to “loosen up”; and those in need of chronic pain management through movement. Lisa’s website is MoveMoreToday.com.