Happy thanksgiving friends! We hope you can enjoy some quality time with family or friends. Are you spending time with a female loved one? Consider this article as food for thought! Vitamin D and Calcium, along with high impact exercise, have been shown to help prevent bone loss. Our bones are constantly remodeling, meaning that old damaged bone is resorbed and dissolved and then replaced by new bone. If there is disconnection with this process it can lead to decreased bone mineral density, or Osteoporosis (OP). Primary OP is bone loss that is most common in post-menopausal women due to decreased estrogen levels. Secondary OP is when there is bone loss due to diseases that affect metabolism. The risk of developing Primary OP has to do with genetics, body weight, hormones, calcium, vitamin D and exercise levels as an adolescent. That's right, I said as an adolescent. Most people associate Osteoporosis with exercising in your older years, so please read on.
Research shows that our bone building capacity is highest during adolescence. What does this mean? Here is an analogy: exercising during adolescence is like an investment in your bone health, you are putting money into the bank, which will help you later during retirement/post-menopause. I cannot stress how critical exercise during adolescence is as it is a window of opportunity for achieving peak bone mass. Unfortunately after we reach this peak, bone loss starts to occur. But that doesn’t mean we stop exercising and loading our bones in adulthood. Exercise for pre-menopausal women maintains your bone density and prevents bone loss (if you have an adolescent daughter make sure you encourage her to exercise with you). For post-menopausal women, research shows that exercise also slows down bone loss. And with regard to exercise for all ages, I am talking about high impact exercise, such as dance, tennis, plyometrics, weight lifting, and so on.
In addition to exercise, Vitamin D and Calcium intake are other preventative measures. Adults between 19-50 years of age, including pregnant or breast feeding women, require 1,000 mg of calcium daily, and those over 50 require 1,200 mg of calcium daily. Osteoporosis.ca has a great Calcium Calculator to help you figure out how much calcium you consume and whether a supplement is needed. You are probably getting the recommended intake from your diet, so I suggest that you save your money and don’t bother with buying calcium supplements. Plus, Calcium supplements do have side effects, so be sure to speak to your doctor to see if it is right for you.
Vitamin D helps our bodies absorb calcium, and is found in foods such as salmon and milk and it is also produced with sunlight exposure. Adults between 19-50 years of age require 400 – 1000 IUs. If you are outside of this age range, visit osteoporosis.ca to learn IU recommendations for your age group. Living in Canada, we don’t get adequate sunlight due to our long winters, so supplementing your diet with Vitamin D3 is recommended (spend your money here!). As always, check with your doctor first.
If you have been diagnosed with Osteoporosis, visit osteoporosis.ca for more information on the disease, exercise and helpful tips for management.
Questions about your bone health? Let me know!
Looking for high impact exercise ideas? Check out our Banded Plyometrics videos and let's celebrate National Women's Health and Fitness day today!
Registered Physiotherapist and Kinesiologist