Protect Your Bones


If you’ve ever known anyone who has suffered a fracture due to osteoporosis, you know how devastating it can be.  So devastating that one in three men will not survive one year after a hip fracture.  That’s right, I said men.

Many people mistakenly view osteoporosis as a women’s disease.  While it is more prevalent in women (half of women over 50 will develop osteoporosis), one in four men over 50 will suffer from it as well.

First, the Bad News…

Osteoporosis occurs gradually over time.  Bones that were once strong and dense become weak, fragile and porous.  Too often, the very first ‘symptom’ is a broken bone.  While osteoporosis affects all bones in the body, fractures are most common in the wrist, hip and spine.

Why should you care about this now? Because by the time a fracture occurs, it’s much harder to turn back the clock and try to build strong bones.

Now, the Good News

Prevention is the key to healthy bones.  It’s long been known that weight-bearing exercise helps build stronger bones. Weight-bearing exercise covers most physical activity, including walking, running, stair-climbing, dancing, playing tennis and other racquet sports, and of course, weight-lifting.

What’s not included are swimming (the water bears your weight) and cycling (you’re seated). Those activities still burn calories, strengthen your heart, and improve your aerobic fitness, but you can do better when it comes to building your bones.

As even better news, new research shows that you even small amounts of exercise can make a big difference.

How It Helps

Exercise helps the bones in two ways:

  1. It lowers a protein called sclerostin.  Sclerostin makes it difficult to build new bone.
  2. It enhances IGF-1 levels (insulin-like growth factor-1).  IGF-1 promotes bone growth.

In a study to be published in October’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, researchers found that pre-menopausal women who exercised at least 2 hours per week were found to have significantly lower sclerostin levels and higher IGF-1 levels.  Further research that examines how these levels are affected in post-menopausal women and men will be interesting.

Just Do It

As children, we grew up knowing the importance of brushing our teeth. If we were ‘good,’ the Tooth Fairy would visit to reward us when we lost a tooth.  It would be fascinating if we took the same preventive approach with our bones.  The ‘Bone Fairy’ might give us a little gift if we exercised each week.

Well, the Bone Fairy is imaginary, but the benefits that you will reap from exercise are real.


Get Moving, Be Healthy, Feel Great



Originally Published in  GlobalFit‘s GO! Newsletter


    December 5, 2012

    Does this explain why you keep shoving me when we are near steps????

    • December 5, 2012

      It is a push…not a shove. There is a difference 🙂

  • Vicki
    December 6, 2012

    AND that is why it is so important NOT to drink sodas because drinking sodas decreases your bone density. Check out the websites health/alkaline-bones.
    Osteoporosis is such an epidemic so am so glad you are addressing this issue and taking such good care of yourself.
    There is a great article “Essential nutrients for bone health and a review of their availability in the average North American diet” by Price, Langford and Liporace. It is not just calcium and vit D!!!
    Did you know raw sesame seeds are one of the best sources of calcium?

    • December 6, 2012

      Thanks for all the great advice Vicki. I know you see so many people with osteoporosis which is so SAD because it can mostly be prevented. Maybe this will get more people to stop drinking sodas! Stay well…

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