National Healthy Bones Week: Exercise is Key to Strengthening Your Bones

National Healthy Bones Week (19th – 25th August, 2012) is an initiative urging all Australians to focus on strengthening their bones through exercise and increasing their calcium intake, to help prevent the onset of osteoporosis.

Many people are not aware that physical activity can both slow the loss of bone mass and bone strength, and is also effective for reducing the risk of fractures (see Table 1).  Previously, we have discussed the important role of exercise for preventing osteoporosis.  Resistance training programs are particularly effective in improving muscular strength, thereby decreasing osteoporotic fractures.

The additional benefit of resistance training to increasing muscle strength is an improvement in balance, which reduces the risk of falling. More than 90% of hip fractures in people with osteoporosis occur as a direct result of a fall.

Recommended Activities for Adults to Prevent and Manage Osteoporosis
Table 1. Recommended Activities for Adults to Prevent and Manage Osteoporosis (click to view larger)

Given the important role of exercise for osteoporosis prevention and management, Exercise and Sports Science Australia (ESSA) is championing an initiative that aims to ensure that every doctor considers physical activity and exercise as a standard part of their osteopenia and osteoporosis treatment programs.  Awareness of how to reduce the risks of developing osteoporosis by doing the right types of exercise is essential for reducing the number of osteoporotic fractures in Australia.

In conjunction with exercise, it is important to consume your recommended daily intake of calcium. Astonishingly, at least half of all Australians do not meet their recommended intake of calcium! When adequate consumption of dairy is combined with exercise, the best outcomes for bone strength are obtained (see Table 2).

Recommended Calcium Intake for Australian Adults
Table 2. Recommended Calcium Intake for Australian Adults (click to view larger)

At Inspire Fitness, we focus on a whole body approach to not only increase muscle strength, balance, and improve diet, but to also improve postural deficits to decrease your injury risks.  A Medicare rebate is also available for people with osteoporosis who are referred to our Exercise Physiology services by their general practitioner / doctor.