BONE Density & Weight TRAINING
Getting older and losing bone density is inevitable, isn’t it? Over the last few years, more research has shown that there are definite steps you can put in place to minimise and in some cases, reverse this process.
As we grow as children and young adults, our body lays down bone and increases our bone density, which peaks in our late twenties/early thirties. This process is dependent on what type of exercise we do in our early life, diet and genetics. After this age, there is a natural decline, which accelerates after menopause.
SO, WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT THIS NATURAL DECLINE IN BONE DENSITY AS WE AGE?
1. Weight bearing exercise. This is one of the biggest factors that we can control. In the last few years, research has shown that exercises in classical strength training, such as deadlifts, squats, can have a significant stimulus on the bones which help maintain and sometimes improve bone density. The load on the bone needs to be a little bit harder than you expect, therefore these exercises should really be supervised by a well-trained and qualified exercise professional, such as a physiotherapist, exercise physiologist to avoid injury and to gain the maximum benefit.
2. Appropriate amounts of calcium in your diet. Having enough calcium in your diet is no a guarantee that these materials will be laid down as bone in the body. However not having enough calcium in your diet will mean that there may not be enough building blocks for your body to build the best matrix and improve bone density. The recommended daily intake for women and men is 1000mg/day, which increases to 1200mg/day after the age of 50 for women and after the age of 70 for men.
3. Ask your doctor to test your bone density. It is important to know where you stand at any point in time and any action that may need to be taken. A bone density test is not invasive and is a measurement of the hip and spine by a central DXA machine, to diagnose osteoporosis. DXA stands for dual energy x-ray absorptiometry. Your
bone density test results are reported using T-scores that compares how much your bone density is higher or lower than the bone density of a healthy 30-year old adult. A T-score of -1.0 or above is normal bone density and the lower a person’s T-score, the lower is the bone density.
4. Medications. There are different medications available, depending on where your bone density T score is compared to the expected density for your age. As medications and knowledge about osteoporosis are changing all the time, regularly seeing your doctor and having a bone density performed, gives you the best chance of being right on top of your best medical management and the best chance of having a good long-term outcome.
There is much that can be done to maximise your bone health and look after your bone health for the long term. This is a rapidly growing area of knowledge and options with an exciting future for all.
Michael Dermansky is a Senior Physiotherapist and Managing Director of MD Health Pilates. Michael has over seventeen years’ experience of treating clients from all walks of life, from sixyear-old children up to the age of 92. Michael can be contacted through his website.
RESEARCH SHOWS THAT STRENGTH TRAINING CAN HAVE A SIGNIFICANT STIMULUS ON THE BONES WHICH HELP MAINTAIN & SOMETIMES IMPROVE BONE DENSITY