I've got your back!
Hot on the heels of a recent blog (Optimal nutrition and training for the 3 phases of menopause’, which, judging by the many requests for my handout was thoroughly needed!)... I’d like to follow this with one on bone health and Osteoporosis (O.P)... as they are so closely associated. It's also often the way - I've had 3 ladies with O.P under my care as clients this last month.
Oestrogen is essential to female bone health because it promotes the activity of osteoblasts, (cells that produce bone). As Oestrogen levels plummet during menopause, the osteoblasts aren't as able to as effectively produce bone. But we CAN take measures to prevent or reverse this, even if you’ve had a diagnosis of Osteoporosis (or Osteopenia, the stage before it).
Here, selective exercise is medicine: Your (own-body) weight bearing is key. Therefore swimming and cycling, (as fun as they are - and you don't have to stop them) - but they will NOT serve your bones in this instance.
Weight training will!
For general bone health (preventative), a good programme of general compound exercises (whole body, multi pivot – less isolative) works well. If you’ve already had a diagnosis (and depending on WHERE you may have lost density), there are certain exercises you must avoid – certainly to start with. (Forward flexion with spine degeneration for example would be contraindicated).
At the same time you must not fear exercise and weights. It is a scare if you've been advised you have brittle bones but you can't wrap up in cotton wool - these bones need to wake up and know they are being used
But seek professional help here unless you really know what you're doing. And ASK for full details of where your scan reveals any issues.
Balance work is also really important, working in lots of planes. This will strengthen proprioceptive muscles, and give you a sense of self-awareness in space, reducing your chances of a fall. I run a class specifically for balance, core and strength, which also uses lightish weights. (Athletic Pilates on Tuesday). I also run 3 mini weights classes a week. All good - check it out!
Research indicates jumping is far superior to walking or even jogging, (possibly due to the repetitive nature of the latter). And 'jolting' even better!
And it’s a bone by bone thing. Weighted squats will protect the legs but do nothing to help the density of your wrists, say. (‘Wall falls’ will though, and you need to build up to 40 a session).
Last word on training - there is good evidence that vibration plates are also great for Bone density improvements.
What to eat? Briefly: Calcium, protein and Vit D (sunshine too), as well as potassium, magnesium, and zinc. Dairy products are good BUT calcium is also in dark leafy greens, seeds, almonds, and many other non-animal sources. 6-8 PRUNES a day are GREAT! They’re rich in polyphenolic compounds, assisting bone building, contain boron which stabilises and extends the half-life of vitamin d, improve oestrogen availability and reduce calcium loss! The vitamin K in the prunes also influences bone health by helping to improve calcium balance. (What's not to like!)
Need more? Ask for my Bone health fact sheet.
Better yet call me for Personal Training and get a comprehensive consultation with a tailored training programme developed from our discussions, and nutritional advice given after looking at your food diary
firstname.lastname@example.org 01497 822995