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Exercises to Strengthen Bones

Posted 3/22/2014

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  To a greater or a lesser degree, many of us are concerned about bone health. There is the normal reduction of bone density that accompanies aging--and that often comes sooner to us than to others. Chemotherapy or hormonal therapies that lurch us into menopause mean that our bones become vulnerable sooner than they would have otherwise. We begin with whatever our natural genes have given us and are then impacted by breast cancer treatment and the passage of years. Women who take any of the AIs are apt to be especially worried as a known side effect is a weakening of bones. This is why it is recommended that one have a baseline bne density test before beginning these meds, and then follow up tests every one to two years.

  Even without being on an AI, there is likely some concern for us all. We have all heard the horror stories of older women who fall, break a hip, end up on a too quick downhill health slide. There are, of course, a number of medicines to help strenghten bones, but they bring their own worries. Bottom line here: bone health is a common issue, especially for women who have had or are having breast cancer treatment, and anything we can do to help ourselves is wise.

  Once again--trumpet blast--enter "EXERCISE". It is amazing how often this is the answer to the health question. This morning, I can write that without guilt as I did the usual routine plus some extra at the gym this morning, but I surely know how hard it is to maintain enthusiasm for a daily workout. Knowing that exercise may reduce recurrence risk, helps with mood, helps with weight maintenance, and helps with bones--those are pretty good reasons to lace up the sneakers.

  From The New York Times comes this really practical and helpful article about specific bone-strenghtening exercises. How long has it been since you jumped rope or did jumping jacks?

  Here is the start and then a link to read more:

Ask Well: Exercises to Strengthen Bone

 

 

In general, activities that involve impacts with the earth, such as running and jumping, are the
most effective way to improve bone health, according to Dr. Jon Tobias, a professor of rheumatology
at the University of Bristol who studies bone health. They create ground-reaction forces that move
through your bones and stimulate them to “remodel” themselves and add density, he said. They also
entail strong muscular contractions that tug at and slightly bend attached bones, redoubling the
stimulating effects of the exercise.
Sprinting and hopping are the most obvious and well-studied examples of high-impact
exercises. In one recent study, women ages 25 to 50 who leaped like fleas at least 10 times in a row,
twice per day for four months, significantly increased the density of their hipbones. In another, more
elaborate experiment from 2006, women who hopped and also lifted weights improved the density
of their spines by about 2 percent compared to a control group, especially if the weight training
targeted both the upper body and the legs. Women whose weight training focused only on the legs
did not gain as much density in their spines.

In general, activities that involve impacts with the earth, such as running and jumping, are the most effective way to improve bone health, according to Dr. Jon Tobias, a professor of rheumatology at the University of Bristol who studies bone health. They create ground-reaction forces that move through your bones and stimulate them to “remodel” themselves and add density, he said. They also entail strong muscular contractions that tug at and slightly bend attached bones, redoubling the stimulating effects of the exercise. Sprinting and hopping are the most obvious and well-studied examples of high-impact exercises. In one recent study, women ages 25 to 50 who leaped like fleas at least 10 times in a row, twice per day for four months, significantly increased the density of their hipbones. In another, more elaborate experiment from 2006, women who hopped and also lifted weights improved the density of their spines by about 2 percent compared to a control group, especially if the weight training targeted both the upper body and the legs. Women whose weight training focused only on the legs did not gain as much density in their spines.

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/03/21/ask-well-exercises-to-strengthen-bones/?_php=true&_type=blogs&hpw&rref=health&_r=0

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