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The Importance of Bone Health

Aug 23, 2008
When we discuss exercise most individuals immediately think of losing fat and toning or gaining muscle. It is true that with regular exercise you will lose inches and gain strength in muscles but the importance of exercise on a regular basis really offers many more important health benefits then being able to fit into your skinny jeans or being able to flex an impressive looking bicep.

Another extremely important benefit from exercise which is often over looked until problems begin to occur is bone health. Most individuals do not give their bones much thought until they or a loved one is face with the reality of failing bones which can be detrimental because it will ultimately lead to immobility.

All of us reached our maximum bone mass in our twenties and if prevention is not a focus it is down hill from that point on. The important thing to remember is it is never to late to start.

Although there has been a focus on women's bone health in recent years with the discussion of osteoporosis men are not immune to the adverse affects of bone loss. Women are prone to increased bone loss or osteoporosis during and after menopause caused by the loss of estrogen; at the same time men as they age will also experience increased bone loss associated with the loss of testosterone. Although women in general are more prone to bone disorders such as osteoporosis men are by no means off the hook.

With that being said most bone loss actually occurs from disuse atrophy. Bone tissue is the same as any other tissue in the body; if you do not use it you will lose it. Your body does not waste energy maintaining something that is deemed important or necessary such as muscle or bone that is not worked. It is also important to recognize that the loss of muscle directly affects the health of your bones.

Maintaining lean muscle mass is essential to keeping our bones healthy because this lean muscle puts good stress on our bones that in turn causes them to strengthen or in other words signals the body that our bones are important and need to be maintained. The best way to do this is to incorporate resistance training into your life two or three times a week.

Weight training does fall into the resistance training category however if lifting weights does not appeal to you there are many different options that can be done inside or outside of your home. Resistance training includes any activity that works and strengthens your muscles which in turn put the much needed stress on your bones. The possibilities are endless your workout can include any of the following: Pilates, using resistance bands, using the now popular exercise ball, yoga or simply using your own body weight. Try doing a lunge or yoga pose; when you do you will see that you do not need a fancy gym or tons of equipment to get a workout. The important thing is to find an activity or activities that you enjoy, embrace it and make it a part of your life.

Other important steps that you need to take in order to ensure you have healthy bones are; quit smoking, avoid excess drinking and ensure you are getting adequate amounts of calcium, vitamin D and vitamin K2 in your diet. If you are not getting your daily requirements of the necessary mineral and vitamins then take supplements.

Healthy bones are not always our top priority but by making a few changes to our lifestyle we can help assure we will not only live longer but can enjoy independence and mobility far into our twilight years.
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