When we think about exercising our reasons to movitate us can be weight loss, strength, conditioning and improving our fitness. While these are totally acceptable goals how many of us include bone health as a positive side effect? Let's take a look at bone health and why we should include it as part of our plan to improve our overall health.
First, here are some statistics from the Osteoporosis Society of NZ which will give you an overall picture of the bone health of New Zealanders.
Every day $325,000 is spent treating fractures.
There are 30,000 clinical fractures and more than 4000 hip fractures annually.
Half of hip fracture sufferers will require long-term care and a quarter will suffer an early death.
This burden will increase rapidly as one million baby boomers retire and age. Boomers are born between 1946-1964.
One in three women and one in five men will suffer from an osteoporotic fracture during their lifetime. And after having an osteoporotic fracture the chance of having another fracture doubles.
These are quite staggering statistics, and the report stated many of these people could have avoided falls and fractures had they been exercising.
Osteoporosis is commonly thought of as an older person's condition. Prevention and treatment have, consequently, concentrated on older people, overlooking the critical importance of building healthy bones over a lifetime. Childhood and adolescence are critical periods in skeletal development which will determine an individual's peak bone mass, which is usually achieved by age 20-25. Our youth is the time to maximise savings in the 'bone bank', because during the remainder of our lives, we will be making withdrawals against that peak balance.
While genetics plays a significant role in determining skeletal growth, decisions made by parents and their children regarding nutrition and exercise can have a profound effect upon fracture risk later in life. We owe it to our children to ensure they have a well-balanced diet, rich in calcium, vitamin D and protein, and take adequate exercise to set them up for a long, healthy and active life.
Whether you are young, middle-aged, older, or have children, in fact at any age exercising is good for our health. If exercise can reduce our risks of some health diseases and can help us both physically and mentally then why do so many people avoid it? Research proves over and over that exercise should be part of our lives. Exercise is not a cure all, however in many cases it is a preventative, helping to reverse life-threatening conditions for many people. Don't bury your head in the sand or look the other way when it comes to improving your health through exercise, you do not want to become a statistic.
So what are you going to do to improve your health and in particular minimise your risk of a fracture? If you have children what are you going to do for them that ensures their health "bank" is not in overdraft as they age? We need to set good examples and show them that exercise is part of life, not something to be avoided. We all have a responsibility as a great community to help each other be better. Look at how we have responded to the Australian crisis. Let's not leave our own health until crisis point, there are many ways we can include exercise in our lives.
We are passionate about exercise at Her Fitness. I have spent nearly 40 years encouraging as many people as possible to do it. Exercise doesn't have to be a chore or painful, unless you're into that type of workout! It's your attitude towards it that makes all the difference. At any age resistance training or working with weights is an excellent way to improve bone strength.
Your reasons to exercise are personal to you, whether it's weight loss, muscle strength or fitness, now you can add bone strength to that list. Build your bone "bank" and make 2020 your year to improve your health. Give us a call and let us help you.
Angela Hewson is director of Her Fitness and a qualified personal trainer.