Pilates for Osteoporosis
The more I research about Osteoporosis, the more I realise how much we need to make better choices in our selection of exercises. I believe that Pilates is a great choice for bone building as we can focus on Axial Elongation - improving posture, Balance - especially with exercises that stand on one leg on the reformer such as the scooter and the standing leg press on the Chair, and Load Bearing exercises such as Lunges on the Chair and Squats on the Cadillac.
We want to do safe and effective exercise appropriate to our age and ability. The best age to actually build bones when we are children. Children that run and jump have more bone density than that of children that are less active. Children's bones also remodel at a faster rate than adults and older adults.
Bones have a few different functions:
* Provide attachment of muscles and ligaments
* Support and protect internal organs
* Build red blood cells
* Store minerals (especially important for Osteoporosis and Osteopenia)
Bones respond to stress and actually need a certain amount of stress to keep them strong.
Bones remodel all the time. You get a new skeleton every 7 - 10 years! As we age this process slows down. Osteoblasts which are our bone building cells come in and build new bone. The Osteoclasts are the cleaner uppers - they get rid of the old bone to make room for the new bone. We need the Osteoclasts to get rid of the old bone otherwise we would have too much bone that gets bigger and bigger! This process is ongoing. (There are some drugs on the market that inhibit Osteoclasts in an effort to continue to strengthen bone.)
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To prevent fractures a few things we can do are:
* Improve your diet to include high calcium foods
* Load bearing exercises that challenge and change from session to session
* Remove trip hazards around the home
* Improve how you move about in your day- are you flexing your spine to unload the dishwasher? Can you do this with a straight back instead?
* Put in safety rails in the bathroom and stairs
* Put in non slip surfaces on stairs
* Improve your posture so that you hunch less
* Strengthen all the muscles around your hip
* Improve your balance by practicing balancing exercises daily
* Take supplements such as vitamin D, Calcium and magnesium
We can lose between .5% - 1% of bone density from the age of 50. This is considered normal! I don't know about you but I am planning to hang onto my youth and my bone density! So turning 50 for me has triggered new health and fitness goals. We can slow down the process of bone density loss. We reach our peak of bone in our late 20s to early 30s.
A scary fact for me is that women decline 20 - 30% during menopause! Oestrogen is a stimulant for bone. So when oestrogen levels decline than we lose that stimulus for your bone. After menopause finishes than bones begin to stabilise too.
We have two types of bone in our body:
Cortical bone: compact bone that remodels slowly. It makes up about 80% of skeletal mass. This type of bone is not affected by osteoporosis.