Around 3 million people in the UK have osteoporosis, which can happen at any age.
However, the condition is very common for post-menopausal women because of the drop in oestrogen (which is important for maintaining healthy bone density).
Osteoporosis can lead to bones becoming fragile and breaking easily, which leads to pain and injuries such as broken wrist, broken hip and broken spinal bones.
Osteoporosis and menopause
Whether a woman develops osteoporosis after menopause depends on:
- How strong her bones were before entering menopause
- The rate of bone loss
- Her age at menopause (women experiencing menopause at a younger age are at higher risk of osteoporosis)
Menopausal women experience osteoporosis not only because of the lack of oestrogen (essential for bone calcification), but also lifestyle changes. When women age, they often decrease their physical activity which has a detrimental effect on bone calcification. “Use it or lose it” as they say – muscles and bones need regular physical exercise to stay in their optimal shape.
Bones health and osteoporosis prevention
Most people don’t monitor the condition of their bones. There are also many patients with a diagnosis who had to delay their treatment during the pandemic. Osteoporosis is a disease that needs to be stopped in its early stages so it doesn’t progress.
It’s important to get regular Dexa scans – a high-precision type of x-ray that measures your bone mineral density and bone loss. Your GP can refer you to a specialist for that.
There are a number of things you can do to keep your bone health in check, starting with your diet. To prevent the weakening of your bones, you need to make sure you’re getting good amounts of calcium on a regular basis. The recommended amount of calcium is 700 mg a day for adults which increases to about 1200 mg for postmenopausal women.
It’s best to get calcium from natural sources such as dairy products, seafood and fish, some leafy vegetables, almonds, hazelnuts. In addition to calcium, vitamin D should be taken – about 800-1000 units per day. When your skin is exposed to sunlight, it makes vitamin D from cholesterol, but vitamin D can also be supplied through food – egg yolk and oily fish such as mackerel and salmon. Alcohol, cigarettes and coffee accelerate the reduction of bone density.
When you can’t get all nutrients from your food, you can get calcium and vitamin D supplements or products that combine them such as Meno Blend. It contains both as well as complex B vitamins including; Folic Acid, Niacin (Vitamin B3) & Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5), which contribute to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue, and B6 vitamins which contribute to the regulation of hormonal activity.
Weight-bearing exercises for strong bones
Exercises that strengthen your muscles and bones are excellent for osteoporosis. You need to speak to your doctor to make sure these are safe for you, but weight-bearing exercises generally have a positive impact on your bone health and your joints.
Yoga is fantastic for your bones. Practising yoga regularly can increase the bone mineral density in the spine. Whether you prefer Iyengar, Vinyasa or Ashtanga, all yoga styles benefit your muscles and bone health, specifically in the areas most vulnerable to fractures – hips, spine, and wrists.
2. Strength Training
You don’t need to be a gym junkie to enjoy lifting weights or using weight machines. You can buy a pair of dumbbells and use them at home, or you can try calisthenics exercises.
You’re working against some form of resistance – weights or your own body weight – which stresses (therefore stimulates the growth of) your muscles and bones.
You need strength training at least twice a week to stimulate bone growth.
3. Brisk Walking
Yes, walking is still a form of exercise. When you do it for an hour or more, you reduce the risk of hip fractures. Ideally, you should walk at a fast pace (100 to 119 steps per minute), but you can adapt your speed to your fitness levels. It’s free and you can do it any time of the day, wherever you are.
Dancing is fun and people have been dancing for thousands of years (historians have found evidence that people were dancing in Ancient Greece, China, and India). So, even if you’re not an excellent dancer, it’s in your blood to enjoy moving your body to a rhythm. You don’t need to go to salsa or tango classes to enjoy the benefits. There are thousands of free online dance classes. Many local gyms offer Zumba classes that combine different Latin dance moves but focus on different muscle groups. You can also play your favourite tunes and enjoy a little dance for 30 min in your pyjamas.
5. Tai Chi
Tai chi is good for improving coordination and building strong bones. Regular participation in Tai Chi classes (45–90-minute sessions between 2 and 7 times a week) for at least 24 weeks has been found to be an effective way to slow the reduction in bone density. Tai chi is slow and graceful and it’s great for those of you who aren’t huge fans of cardio.
A word of warning for those with thin bones
Be extra careful if your if you already have bone thinning.
If you’re practising yoga and your spine isn’t that strong because of decreased bone density, it’s better to skip any deep backbends in yoga.
Avoid any exercises with the potential for serious falls as ice-skating or skiing. You’re at higher risk of fracture, therefore you’re better off sticking to things like hiking or dancing.
But definitely, don’t give up on exercise! Speak to your GP to find out if there’s an exercise referral scheme in your area that caters for people with osteoporosis.
It’s fantastic how advanced technology is. There is a product called Marodyne LiV which is the world’s first advanced medical device certified to prevent osteoporosis.
It’s a low vibrating platform that, when you step onto it, automatically adjusts to your weight, mass and movement to produce low acceleration, high-frequency vibrations that send signals to re-activate the bone-building cells in the body.
It’s recommended to use Marodyne LiV on a regular daily to see results. It can be used in any room in the house and it looks like a regular set of bathroom scales. It’s a 100% natural way to build stronger bones.
Osteoporosis: the bottom line
To sum things up, osteoporosis isn’t the most pleasant of conditions but there is so much you can do to strengthen your bones. If you make it into a priority, you can prevent fractures and injuries, just be consistent with your diet, including lots of calcium and vitamin D, moving your body regularly and using weights or bodyweight exercises to strengthen your muscles and bones.