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Break free from Osteoporosis!

The 6th-9th May saw our summer – and glorious it was, but it got me thinking about you all (our lovely clients) and how much Vitamin D deficiency we are recognising and treating at Katie Bell Physiotherapy, and then I thought in 10 years time will I be writing an article on the increased rate of osteoporosis and rickets! So I got to work writing an article on bone health, so here goes!

Who has a pension? Its really hard to get excited about it when you are younger or even when you are older and seeing a certain amount going away every month, but as they keep telling us – the sooner you start the better! No this is not an accounting lesson you did click the right link….but this priniciple is exactly the same for bone health! The sooner you start, the better and healthier you will be when you are older.

Looking after ourselves and our bones is an investment you cannot put a price on. What you do now will pay dividends in helping you stay fit, active and independent in later life.

Preventing Osteoporosis starts in childhood. The key years are those up to our mid 20’s. Research shows that gymnasts aged 10 have much stronger bones than inactive youngsters of the same age. The greater reserves you build in child hood is then with you in early adult hood, so if you start with a low baseline your are more likely to suffer from bone disease sooner.

For those of you who are reading this under 30, or for those of you have children here are some tips (if you are over 30 – keep reading for more information!)

  • Plenty portions of green leafy veg.
  • Plenty of eggs/yoghurt/cheese and milk – try replacing their sugary cereal with scrambled eggs.
  • Plenty of time outside!
  • Weight baring exercise – running, trampolining, football, gym, rugby etc. Children aged 5-18 need at least 60minutes of physical activity every day for optimum bone health.

If you are over 30 and panicking you have not started early enough, the key for you is to maintain bone density. At this point and beyond in our life exercise works to reduce the loss of bone strength rather than improve it. So my tips for you:

  • A well balanced diet with plenty of green leafy veg, eggs, oily fish. These foods sources have naturally occurring Vitamin D in them.
  • Weightbaring exercises – Pilates/Yoga/Walking/HIIT classes.
  • Vitamin D Supplement – We get Vitamin D from exposure to the sun. The problem is in the UK, we don’t get much of it! And when we do we are now told to wear a high factor sun cream and cover up, meaning our actual absorption is minimal. To absorb your recommended daily allowance of Vitamin D you need to be in the sun unprotected for 20minutes and then not shower for 24hours! So as you can see none of us are doing this (well I hope not at least!). There are only a few foods that contain useful amounts of Vitamin D which is eggs and oily fish. I take a Vitamin D supplement from September – May.
  • Adding a Calcium supplement if you are at risk of developing osteopenia or osteoporosis.
  • Smoking can increase the risk of osteoporosis, as can some medication – so its always best to check with GP or ask for a bone scan if you have a history of it in the family.

I have made a short video demonstrating two exercises to help maintain bone strength in your arms. Watch it here.

So this summer I encourage you to enjoy the sunshine, eat well and start on the road to building or maintaining your bone density.

Stay strong!


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