Preventing Bone Loss

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"Given the serious public health burden of fractures associated with osteoporosis, it is important to learn as much as possible about ways to prevent and treat bone loss."
- Joan McGowan

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A study published in the February 16, 2015 issue of the journal Bone demonstrates that adolescent physical activity is associated with higher tibial bone values in adulthood after 28-years of follow-up in The Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns Study.

Researchers assessed whether habitual childhood and adolescence physical activity or inactivity at the age of 3-18 years were associated with the size and condition of weight-bearing tibia. Scientists conclude:

"Frequent habitual physical activity in adolescence seems to confer benefits on
tibial bone size and geometry in adulthood."

The February 21, 2010 issue of the Harvard Medical Adviser offers women a way to prevent osteoporosis in just three words:

"Stress bearing exercise"

One clue to the prevention of osteoporosis is a secret learned from astronauts who returned to earth after long missions. Some space travelers spending time in zero gravity were crippled and had to be held up after returning to earth.

Astronauts lose between one and two percent of their bone density for every month that they spend in space because they are outside of earth's strong gravitational pull and receive little or no stress bearing exercise.

Lifestyle factors accelerate bone loss. See:

These bone-weakening factors include smoking cigarettes, consuming animal protein, and not allowing the bones in your body to remain healthy with enough stress-bearing exercise. When it comes to astronauts with bone disease, it's a matter of extreme gravity. When it comes to osteoporosis, exercise and gravity seem to play a major role, if not the major role in preventing bone loss.

The March 20, 2008 issue of Osteoporosis International included a study in which bone density of senior athletes was compared to sedentary couch potato-people.

Scientists measured bone density in athletes competing in running and swimming events to the control group composed of non-exercisers and found that total bone mineral density was greatest among runners.

Study participants were recruited from a group of athletes who participated in the annual senior Olympics. The study included 44 runners, 43 swimmers, and 87 non-athletes.

Study conclusion:

"These findings suggest that moderate impact exercise contributes to skeletal integrity in older age."

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"Weight-bearing exercise builds bone density, builds your muscular strength so that you can hold your body up where those bones have a tendency to get weak."
- Ann Richards

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Robert Cohen

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