Our goal is to keep as much bone as possible, particularly over 50, and exercises create the muscle strength and the bone health that keeps us upright, reduces falls and keeps our bones strong.
For those really short on time, we also put together a mini compilation of exercises that create muscle strength and bone health for over 50 that you can do right now, generating muscle strength that also helps with coordination and balance. This in turn, helps prevent falls and fractures.
Bones are living, growing tissues that are formed and re-absorbed, helping the body maintain a constant controlled amount of bone. Bones are also the mechanical support for muscles and connective tissue, and bones are the levers for muscle movement.
Over time, bone loss happens, and new bone growth slows. Bones get weaker, and after 30, we break down more bone than we rebuild. https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/5-ways-to-build-strong-bones-as-you-age
Risk of Osteoporosis Increases with Gender and Age
There are two major factors that increase your risk of developing osteoporosis, gender and age.
Both men and women can develop osteoporosis, but women are 4 times more likely to develop osteoporosis than men. Osteoporosis is the major cause of fractures in postmenopausal women and in older men.
“At age 50, one in two women and one in four men will have an osteoporosis-related fracture in their lifetimes. Another 30% have low bone density that puts them at risk of developing osteoporosis. This condition is called osteopenia.” https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/4443-osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is called a silent disease because there are typically no symptoms until you have a broken bone or compression fractures in your vertebrae. When symptoms do show up, they usually show up as severe back pain, loss of height, or spinal malformations.
Hormones can play a role, as they do with most goings-on in the body. When estrogen lowers in women after menopause, it can increase the risk factor for osteoporosis. If a woman has hormonal disorders or has an extreme level of physical activity and menstrual periods have stopped, it can also lead to a risk factor of developing osteoporosis.
In men, conditions that cause low levels of the hormone testosterone (obesity, diabetes, thyroid function, etc.) can put them at risk for osteoporosis. The gradual decrease that comes with maturing, however, doesn’t seem to play a major role in developing osteoporosis.
Your Bone Structure, Body Weight and Your Genetics
Other factors that can contribute to osteoporosis is your bone structure and your body weight.
Slender, thin-boned women and men are at greater risk because they have less bone to lose compared to larger boned women and men.
Bone loss accelerates during the menopausal transition. This transition period could be from late perimenopause including the first few years after menopause. Losing weight during this time is seen as a risk factor for osteoporosis. You’re likely to lose bone along with weight loss.
This is the time when you want to boost your calcium and Vitamin D as well as your fitness over 50 strength workouts.
Genetics influence the bone mineral density and fracture risk. Learning more about the genetic makeup influencing this disease, researchers are looking to steer toward more correct and targeted treatments.
Food and Its Influence on Bone Health
While osteoporosis is not curable, food has a big influence and done well, it can improve bone health. Good nutrition can help manage a risk factor and good nutrition plays a significant role in treatment. Because without enough minerals, particularly calcium and Vitamin D, bones can become weak.
Also, protein is a key nutrient for the bone health. There has been a lot of controversy over protein and its role with bone health, but it seems to have settled out in favor of adding protein.
Since bone has a continual turnover and remodeling process, bone needs a good amount of amino acids and minerals that are found in protein. Protein helps support the formation and maintenance of bone. https://journals.lww.com/nutritiontodayonline/fulltext/2019/05000/optimizing_dietary_protein_for_lifelong_bone.5.aspx
Still, a cautionary flag goes up with too much protein causing the body to lose calcium. Most older adults, however, are low on protein. If you have concern, you can make up a difference by adding dairy products like yogurt, cheese, calcium-fortified cottage cheese, which are high in protein and contain calcium.
Other foods that influence bone health are green leafy vegetables, broccoli, kale, collard greens, turnip greens and mustard greens. These guys always show up with lots of nutrients to boost your health.
Fresh and dried figs come to the table, as do canned fish and salmon with the bones, please; almonds and Brazil nuts, which I just happen to love.
Prunes reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, which both cause inflammation and contribute to bone loss. You want about 50 grams of prunes a day, that’s about 5 or 6 prunes, but start out slow with 1 to 2 and work your way up.
Blackberries, blueberries and mulberries should also show up in your diet along with grapes, kiwi and pomegranate. All of these delicious fruits are full of nutrients, antioxidants and help with reducing the inflammation and oxidative stress that contribute to bone loss.