From those early weeks after conception up until you are around 35 your body balances the amount of bone that is removed, and the amount of bone that is laid down. After 35 the amount of bone that is removed and the amount of bone that is laid down starts to get slightly out of balance. This means more bone tissue is removed, and the total amount of bone tissue starts to decrease. According to the Royal Osteoporosis Society.
For women this bone degeneration is made worse by the onset of the menopause when your bodies levels of oestrogen plummet. This can result in porous, weak and brittle bones. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, woman can lose up to 20% of their bone density during the five – seven years following menopause. If you lose bone quickly, you have a greater chance of developing osteoporosis.
While you can’t stop bone loss entirely there are things you can do to help, the old saying ‘use it or lose it’ rings true with bone health the more active you stay the better your bone health will remain.
In particular, you should focus on weight-bearing exercise since this activity stimulates extra calcium deposits and supports the production of osteoblasts (cells that promote bone growth). In one study on postmenopausal women, researchers found a 12-week weight-bearing exercise programme increased participants’ bone density, bones size, and bone strength. * Klentrou,. P., Slack. J., Roy. B. & Ladouceur. M. (2007). Effects of Exercise Training with Weighted Vests on Bone Turnover and Isokinetic Strength in Postmenopausal Women. Journal of Aging and Physical Activity.
In my Pilates classes I always add an element of balance work, which is vital as we get older and are more likely to slip or trip. Pilates is a load bearing exercise that can be done by anyone making it suitable for all abilities and ages whether you are usually physically active or not.
Weight bearing exercise with impact involves being on your feet and adding an additional force or jolt through your skeleton. This could be anything from walking to star jumps. Another form of exercise that helps build bones strength is muscle strengthening using things like hand weights and resistance bands to help build bone strength.
This happens when your muscles pull on your bones, making your bones work. Your bones respond by renewing themselves and maintaining or improving their strength. As your muscles get stronger, they pull harder, meaning your bones are more likely to become stronger.