Impact. To build strong bones our body needs impact! And sadly, the older most of us get, the less impact (or stress) we place on our bones, bodies, and joints. It seems like one day, (perhaps in your mid 30’s, or early 40’s) all of a sudden high impact aerobics class, or jogging doesn’t seem like such a smart idea, and we stop ALL impact activities in an effort to avoid injury and “protect” our health.
According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation, worldwide, one in 3 women and 1 in 5 men over the age of 50 will experience osteoporotic fractures. And can you believe that in women over 45 years of age, osteoporosis accounts for more days spent in a hospital than many other diseases, including diabetes, myocardial infarction and breast cancer!
I’m not saying it’s a smart idea to push through the pain and bash your aching knees, hips, and back into submission to build better bones. But if you’ve stopped exercising or doing any impact activities as you get older, you’re increasing your risk for fractures and broken bones. There’s a tipping point for becoming aware of the issue, getting a bone density screening or dexa scan is a good start to have a baseline measurement for what your bone density is so you can see over time if it’s stable, going up, or you’re losing density and there is cause for concern. For many people the first fracture is the moment they realize osteoporosis is an issue, and then it’s a tougher scramble to build bone and get your health back.
In my opinion, that’s where working the Pilates system as a supplement for cross-training can be a valuable asset to your weekly workouts!
Pilates can help you improve body mechanics and help you maximize the benefits from your more vigorous higher “impact” activities. Pilates like weight training, can give you the opportunity to start a strength training program, and work the body through a full-range of motion against the resistance of the springs on the Pilates Reformer, Cadillac, and Chairs. Learning how to move your body efficiently and effectively with the right muscles working to support you, so you can freely move your spine, and swing your arms and legs from the right spots will insure that when you walk, run, hop, squat, or jump rope that you really are getting the best benefits from these bone building activities.
Did you see the recent article in The New York Times, “Building Up Bones, With a Little Bashing” by Jane E. Brody? She shares info based on the latest research and describes different exercises that are helpful for building strong bones. Osteoporosis is a serious health concern, and it’s treatable, and reversible through exercise! Regardless of your age, you can improve your bone density by increasing impact or stress placed on your joints.
Physical activity is critical for keeping your bones and whole body healthy. Don’t wait until it’s too late… Be sure you’ve got a good amount of strength building, “bone bashing,” higher impact, weight-bearing activities built into your weekly workouts. Move your body to help build strong bones, keep your mind and body healthy, and reduce your risk of fractures from osteoporosis.