While you can keep a watchful eye on other areas of your body to ensure they’re in healthy working order, your bones can’t be seen which makes them easier to overlook.
For those over 60, however, bone density should be an important component of your overall health and exercise plan – but what activities should you be focusing on to ensure you’re building better bones?
Research recently conducted in Queensland by Griffith University and The Bone Clinic is changing the understanding of the role exercise plays in osteoporosis prevention and treatment. Here are five things you might not know about exercise and your bones based on the latest scientific research:
- It’s never too late to regain bone mass. If you’re doing the right sort of exercises, it’s possible to build bone at any age and also enjoy other benefits such as improved posture.
- Previously thought to be too dangerous for people with diminished bone density, lifting heavy weights in a supervised environment has been proven to safely build bone mass. Only two high intensity resistance weight-training sessions are required per week if done the right way. It is important to be supervised by an expert however, to ensure you are doing the right kinds of exercise and progressing safely. While they may be beneficial for your overall health and wellness, walking and light weights will not assist you to build bone.
- Your balance is just as important when it comes to protecting you from fracture because good balance reduces the risk of falls. Exercises that improve balance should therefore form part of your regular anti-osteoporosis routine.
- Mobility is important too. For example, knowing how to squat safely to pick things up from the floor or to get to the level of your grandchildren is important to ensure you can continue to stay mobile and active
- Men need bone-friendly exercise too. Although women are more susceptible, men also get osteoporosis and once they have it, the consequences can be worse. Men tend to delay seeking assistance and often aren’t diagnosed until they actually suffer a fracture.
It is never too early to start saving bone in the bank nor too late to begin to rebuild. It’s a good idea for anyone over sixty to have a DXA scan done to assess your current bone density before beginning a new exercise program. That way you are able to track if the program is actually benefiting you.