Australians are being urged to focus on strengthening their bones through exercise and increased calcium intake to help prevent the onset of osteoporosis during National Healthy Bones Week from 19-25 August. Osteoporosis affects about two in three women and one in three men over sixty with gradual bone loss beginning between 30-40 years of age.
Exercise & Sports Science Australia’s Executive Officer, Anita Hobson Powell says the week-long initiative is a great opportunity for Australians of all ages to focus on the benefits of exercise in maintaining healthy bones.
“Many people are not aware that the right exercise can actually modify the shape and size of bones so that they are stronger and better protected from injury,” said Ms Hobson-Powell.
“In healthy active adults, vigorous exercise helps to prevent typical age-related bone loss while for inactive adults and even children, exercise can increase bone mass putting them in a far better position to deal with the impacts of aging.”
“There is the additional benefit of exercise increasing muscle strength and improving balance which also reduces the risk of falling. More than 90% of hip fractures in people with osteoporosis occur as a direct result of a fall.”
ESSA’s recommendations are made as part of the organisation’s Exercise is Medicine® initiative which aims to make every doctor consider physical activity and exercise as a standard part of treatment programs to ensure more people are being prescribed exercise for either prevention or treatment of chronic conditions.
“We need people to be aware that they can reduce the risks of getting osteoporosis by doing the right types of exercise. While the stats are concerning, it’s possible to buck the trend if you take the right steps,” continued Ms Hobson-Powell.
Factors that increase bone loss include menopause in women (less oestrogen causes faster bone loss), immobilisation which may be as a result of treating fractures or joint injuries; some medical conditions or their treatments; an inactive lifestyle and not enough calcium and vitamin D in the diet.
Dairy Australia Dietitian, Glenys Zucco says for bones to benefit most from exercise, people need to be consuming their recommended daily intake of calcium.
“Unfortunately, at least half of all Australians do not meet their recommended intake of calcium,” Ms Zucco said.
“As well as being a great source of calcium for bones, dairy food is the perfect partner for exercise and building muscle strength. Milk naturally contains the right mix of nutrients needed by muscles for growth and recovery after exercise. When dairy foods and exercise join forces they really do make a make a great bone strengthening team.”
For more information and fact sheets please visit www.exerciseismedicine.org.au. We strongly recommend that you see an accredited exercise physiologist for an appropriate and safe exercise prescription if you have been diagnosed with osteopenia or osteoporosis.