Exercise Can Build Stronger Bones

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Exercising at any age can help boost bone density.  This is especially important in young adults, who are at risk for developing osteoporosis later in life.  Interestingly, the exercise you do now, can help you maintain your bone strength as you get older.  One Swedish study found that increased physical activity was associated with favorable development of bone mineralization and density.  This indicated that exercise is important in optimizing peak bone mass in young men and could be an important measure in preventing brittle bones.

It is important to start disease prevention when you are young.  Exercise could be the key in preventing osteoporosis later in life by developing strong bones when you are young.

What is osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a disease characterized by an imbalance in the turnover of bone.  Normally, your bones are constantly being broken down and rebuilt, in osteoporosis, there is not enough rebuilding to match the loss of bone. This causes your bones to become more fragile and vulnerable to fractures. The risk factors for osteoporosis include:

o   Advancing age

o   Previous fracture

o   Steroids treatment

o   History of hip fracture in your parent

o   Low-body weight

o   Cigarette smoking

o   Excessive alcohol

Certain medical conditions such as hypogonadism, chronic liver disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and malabsorption can also cause osteoporosis.

Certain medical history can also result in low bone mass.  Some of the most common examples of this are:

    • Radiographic osteopenia—thinning of the bones on x-ray
    • History of fracture following low impact trauma
    • Loss of more than 1.5 inches in height
    • Long-term steroid therapy
    • Androgen deprivation therapy

Aside from exercise, how else can you also supplement through vitamins and diet to build stronger bones. Vitamin D and Calcium are essential to good bone health. In postmenopausal women, 1200 mg of elemental calcium daily, total diet plus supplement, and 800 International Units of vitamin D daily are suggested.  The dose of calcium and vitamin D may vary in individuals with coexisting medical conditions, so it is important to talk to your doctor before starting new supplements.  The total intake of calcium (diet plus supplements) should not routinely exceed 2000 mg/day. The safe upper limit for vitamin D is 4000 International Units daily.