The best time to build healthy bones is when you are young - exercises such as jumping and skipping in your teenage years can help promote denser bones and prevent fractures when you are older. (So get your children/grandchildren off their PlayStations and get moving!) However, there are ways we can help ourselves.
The bad news – our bone density continues to grow until our mid 20’s, however, after the age of 35, and following the menopause in women, the pattern changes. 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men over the age of 50 will develop osteopenic (loss of bone) fractures.
The good news – although ideally we would have looked after our bones in our teenage years, we can make a change for the better:
1. Eat a varied diet rich in calcium – dairy products tofu and spinach are all good.
2. Be active – load bearing exercise such as walking, running, golf or tennis can help.
3. Reduce your caffeine and salt and stop smoking as all of these can interfere with the absorption of calcium in our bodies.
4. Take up Pilates, the mind-body conditioning programme, can be used to strengthen your core (back and tummy) muscles and also be adapted to do in standing to help ‘load’ the bones.
Pilates can also help with balance and transferring weight to help avoid falls and potential fractures.
Choose a fully qualified and registered Pilates instructor – participants in our small group classes and 1:1 sessions are fully assessed before starting an exercise programme specific to their needs.
If you are worried about your bone density speak to your GP