Osteoporosis and Exercise

May is National Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month. Over 53 million people in the United States have been diagnosed with osteoporosis or are at risk for osteoporosis due to low bone mass.   Osteoporosis is defined as a disease which weakens the bones so they become fragile and break easily. It is especially prevalent in the bones of the hip, spine, and wrist. Often, osteoporosis is a “silent” disease because the person does not exhibit symptoms or knows he/she has it until a bone is broken or the vertebrae in the spine collapse.

While anyone is susceptible to osteoporosis, it is more common in older women, especially non-Hispanic white women and Asian women. Other risk factors include being small and thin, having low bone density, taking certain medications, and having a family history of osteoporosis. Bone mass can be tested with a bone mineral test.

There are a few ways you can prevent osteoporosis and keep your bones strong, such as consuming a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D, exercising, not smoking, and not drinking alcohol excessively. Falls are the number one cause of broken bones, so weight bearing exercise and balance are extremely important to prevent falls and to increase bone density. If bones become extremely fragile, fractures can also occur through normal daily activities, such as bending, lifting, coughing, or from minor bumps or stresses.

Exercise improves bone health, muscle strength, coordination, balance, and overall health, and it is vital for treating and preventing osteoporosis. Weight-bearing and strength training exercises are both recommended for peak bone mass because you are working against gravity. Weight-bearing exercises include weight training, hiking, jogging, walking, stair climbing, dancing, and tennis. They can be either low impact or high impact. Strength training is also known as resistance exercise, and it includes lifting weights, using bands and balls, and utilizing your own body weight. Yoga and pilates are also great options since they improve flexibility, balance, and strength, but certain positions will need to be avoided to avoid spinal injury.

Consult a doctor before beginning any type of exercise program, especially if you have osteoporosis. You may have to avoid bending, twisting, and flexing to protect your spine if your bone mass is low. Additionally, high-intensity exercises should be avoided to avoid fractures. It is important to stretch and strengthen the muscles properly and to improve posture. It is good idea to consult with a personal trainer to learn how to perform exercises properly and how to progress your activities and routines.

 

By Denise Groothuis MS RD CPT

 

Sources:

The National Institutes of Health Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases ~
NIH: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseaseshttps://www.nof.org/patients/fracturesfall-prevention/exercisesafe-movement/osteoporosis-exercise-for-strong-bones/ (National Osteoprosis Foundation)

What is Mobility?

Mobility is defined as the ability to move freely and easily. Mobility is very important, especially as we age, and it is critical aspect of being healthy. Mobility is an important aspect of any exercise routine, since you must be able to move a joint freely through a full range of motion to decrease the risk of injury, to increase strength, and to ensure you are getting the most out of your exercise routine. If you do not have proper mobility and flexibility, other joints will compensate for the lack of range of motion, which will decrease strength gains and increase risk of injury. Mobility and flexibility are not the same, since flexibility is dependent upon the range of motion of our muscles. Mobility will increase the range of motion and stabilization of the muscles around each joint, which will enable you to be more flexible.

By training mobility, we can improve the range of motion of our joints and muscles, improve posture, increase body awareness, and decrease daily aches and pains.  It is a good idea to engage in mobility exercises as a warm up. Some ways to train mobility are foam rolling, ball rolling, dynamic stretches, and body-weight movements, like squatting. Activate the muscles you will be using during your workout in a slow and deliberate fashion. You will feel better and reach your goals more quickly as your mobility increases.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Four Common Chiropractic Myths Busted

Myth 1: Chiropractic Care is Dangerous

Myths BustedA study from Johns Hopkins showed that there are over 250,000 deaths a year from medical errors, with numbers even estimated to be much higher. So over a quarter million deaths alone are from medical errors. This is actually the THIRD leading cause of death in the U.S. behind heart disease and cancer. Scary.

The numbers of adverse effects as a result of chiropractic treatments is nearly non-existent compared to the above statistic.

The greatest indicator, though, of the safety of chiropractic care malpractice insurance premiums. No one that knows risks better then malpractice insurance companies – it’s their business. They are the front lines, seeing the claims first hand and they are the ones paying out on the claims. So they certainly do their homework when it comes to the risks involved with these procedures.

The malpractice insurance premium for a primary care physician or general practitioner medical doctor starts at around $10,000 per year and that is on the lower end. Malpractice insurance for a chiropractor is around $2000 a year and that is on the high end. This alone is clearly a huge difference.

Of course medical malpractice only goes up from there as you get in to specialties and surgeries, even into the hundreds of thousands per year in premiums! So if you do the math, where is the risk?

If chiropractic were dangerous our malpractice insurance premium would be much higher. The rates are astronomical for medical malpractice insurance whereas compared to chiropractic. So according to a malpractice insurance company who knows risk better than anyone, it’s a lot more dangerous to go to a medical doctor then it is to go to a chiropractor.

There are risks with any treatment or procedure. And in some cases, chiropractic care, or specific treatment options within chiropractic, would not be appropriate, also known as contraindicated. Proper evaluation of a patient by a chiropractor will determine what treatment is appropriate, if any, or if the patient should be referred to another practitioner.

When practicing in accordance with clinical guidelines, there is no comparison between the risks of medical interventions (drugs and surgery) and chiropractic care.

Myth 2: Chiropractic Care is Addictive

This is a common concern and a common question I’m asked. People often think that if they go to a chiropractor once they will need to go back for the rest of their lives because they will become addicted.  This usually pertains to the the spinal adjustment, which is what most people think of when thinking of chiropractic. This is false.

You will not become physically addicted to chiropractic treatments or adjustments.

You are far more likely to be addicted to medical/pharmaceutical interventions that can actually kill you than to chiropractic. Tens of thousands of people are dying every year from actual medical addictions.  There is no comparison. So even if chiropractic was addictive (and it’s not), we know it’s safe and is good for you!

Now let’s examine some factors that may cause people to think that they may become addicted to chiropractic. The world we live in is extremely unhealthy and there are a lot of things working against us. People have terrible posture, are sitting for hours over computers, staring down at smart phones and not moving as much as they should.  Diets are poor, stress is high and exposure to toxins is unprecedented. So we are developing health problems as a result including tension, restrictions and musculoskeletal problems.

Most chiropractic treatments are based on restoring movement to joints and soft tissues that not moving properly. This allows better communication in the nervous system and fascia, and also improves circulation.  So think about this – would feel good if you’ve been “unstuck” after being “stuck” for a while? If your body has been restricted, stiff or in pain, and now you can move better and your pain is gone, would it feel good? Of course! And naturally you would want more. Restoring health feels good. It doesn’t mean you’re addicted to chiropractic.

In a perfect world, humans would be moving correctly, have perfect posture, eating correctly, have normal stress loads and are not burdened with toxic chemicals. The body would not have as much working against it. It could more easily maintain good health and there would probably be less need for chiropractic treatments.

The main responsibility as a health professional should be to educate patients on how to be healthy so they won’t need us as often. How can you minimize the negative forces of the modern world working against you, how can you eat better, sleep better, think better, move better and allow you body to better repair itself?

So no, chiropractic care is not addictive but you might want more because your body will feel better after experiencing it. Better movement and function is always something to look forward to and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Myth 3: There is No Evidence that Chiropractic Care Works

Did you know that it is estimated by researchers that less than 20% of what physicians do have solid evidence to support it? Think about that for a moment. Less than 20% has solid evidence to support it! That is a small number when we think of “evidence based care.” If less than 20% of procedures have solid evidence behind them, can we truly call it evidence based care?

If someone tells you chiropractic has no evidence to support it, ask what are they actually comparing it to? A different system that does not have significant evidence to support it and furthermore kills a quarter of a million people per year just from errors alone?

There is plenty of scientific research in major peer-reviewed medical journals that demonstrates that chiropractic has positive effects on health and physiology. Spinal adjustments alone have been shown to be effective as a treatment for lower back pain, neck pain and headaches compared to other treatment options. Spinal manipulation has been included in the FDA guidelines for the treatment of pain before the use of opioids.

There is evidence that shows spinal manipulation has neurophysiological effects in the central (brain and spinal cord), peripheral (nerves in arms and legs, and autonomic (organ function and stress response) sections of the nervous system. It has been shown to affect muscle activation and even associated with strength increase in athletes. And this is only the spinal adjustment.

While most chiropractors focus on spinal adjustments, there are many different styles and techniques of chiropractic care. Some of these other specialties include soft tissue therapy, functional rehabilitation, neurological rehabilitation and nutrition. Stecco Fascial Manipulation, for example, is a soft tissue technique practiced by some chiropractors and has the most scientific research supporting it of any soft tissue technique.

I’ve heard people say that their medical doctor told them not to see a chiropractor because there is no evidence to support it or because it was dangerous. Anyone who says this is giving you bad information and is clearly not current with the research. I personally would not want to go to a practitioner who was ignorant of the current literature and closed minded to safe, effective options.

Myth 4: Chiropractic Care is Only for Back Pain

Neuromusculoskeletal issues such as shoulder problems, ankle injuries, tennis elbow, knee pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, jaw pain can be helped by chiropractic. Even ear infections and sinus conditions can benefit from chiropractic care. Some chiropractors specialize in pediatric care while others focus on sports injuries and athletic performance optimization.

Most chiropractors do focus on the spine but there are many other styles of practice. Some focus on extremities, some focus on the soft tissues such as muscles and fascia, some focus on neurological function, others focus on nutrition. Even though you don’t have back pain, chiropractic can play a significant role in keeping you healthy.

Think of the body as a functional unit – everything is connected and works together. Everything affects everything else, and if we’re not looking at the body as a whole then we are certainly missing out on a big part of the puzzle. A good chiropractor will see body in this way, look for the imbalances and treat accordingly.

Other popular techniques used by chiropractors use you may not have heard of are soft tissue therapies such as Stecco Facial Manipulation, Active Release Techniques (A.R.T.) and Graston Technique, Applied Kinesiology, functional rehabilitation, neurological rehabilitation, and functional medicine.

Final Thoughts

I hope this helped to shed light the fact that these common myths about chiropractors are in fact myths and are false.

Keep in mind that some of the reasons for these myths have been perpetuated by the chiropractic profession itself. There are unethical chiropractors as there are, unfortunately, unethical practitioners in every field. There are practices that have given the profession a bad name. There are practitioners who do not examine their patients properly and use a one-size-fits-all for everybody, which clearly is not an effective approach and can lead to problems. There are people who have had negative experiences with a chiropractor and have had a bad taste left behind.

But there are many people, if not more, that have had negative experiences with mainstream medical practitioners. But because it’s mainstream, the whole profession doesn’t get a bad name. It’s simply thought of as a negative experience with that particular doctor, and they’ll move on and find another doctor.

Mainstream media seems to emphasize negative chiropractic experiences because it is against the grain. If one person has an adverse reaction to a chiropractic treatment it will get mainstream press that will create much fear and doubt. But again, the well over 250,000 people who die every year from medical mistakes typically will not get mainstream press.

Of course there is a time and a place for the mainstream medical model. Modern medicine saves lives in many cases and we are fortunate to have it. This is not an anti-medicine article by any means. But given the risks involved and the availability of natural, safe and effective options such as chiropractic, there needs to be more awareness and a change in perception. Why not go from least invasive/least risk to more invasive/more risk when considering treatments?

When choosing a chiropractor here are some things to consider:

  • Do they properly examine their patients?
  • Do they explain treatment options and develop a plan based on your needs and goals?
  • Do they educate their patients?
  • Are they trying to minimize dependency on care and empowering patients to stay healthy on their own?
  • What techniques do they use?

Chiropractic is an amazing profession that can truly help you feeling better. You can avoid harmful medications and risky procedures that down the road can cause more problems.

If one style of chiropractic does not work for you consider trying something different, as again, there are many different approaches. But you can be confident that chiropractic care is safe, non-addictive, supported by evidence and effective in helping with many different health conditions!

Dr. Robert Inesta DC, L.Ac, CFMP, CCSP

Protect Yourself!

April is Sexual Assault awareness month. Many people remain quiet about this month, we shine light on this taboo topic. According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network there is another victim of sexual assault every two minutes in the United States. Another alarming statistic – 44% of those victims will be under 18 and approximately 80% will be under 30.

It’s important to have a basic understanding of how to protect yourself against such confrontation. Prevention is always the first and best form of self-defense. Attackers typically look for unsuspecting, vulnerable targets. Be sure to follow general safety tips, such as being aware of your surroundings, walking & parking in well-lit areas, keeping your keys in your hand as you approach your door/car, or varying your route & times of travel.

Sometimes fighting back is the only alternative. There are some very basic techniques that people of all fitness levels can apply:

  • Get loud and push back
  • Hit the most effective body parts – eyes, nose, neck, knee
  • Maximize damage by using your elbows, knees, and head, as well as using everyday objects and leveraging your weight
  • Utilize wrist holds, front & back choke holds, bear hugs, and mount position to get out of compromising positions or defend yourself

It’s good to have a little bit of extra strength on your side. Start incorporating full-body workouts into your regular routine. Strength training can enhance explosive power by developing the Type II, or fast twitch, muscle fibers. Greater strength not only makes you stronger, it also means that moving your body weight becomes easier for longer periods of time, which translates into having greater stamina.

Take Time to Unwind

For most Americans, stress is an unfortunate part of everyday life. Constant or extreme stress is not only bad for the mind & body…it can also lead to a wide range of illnesses. April is Stress Awareness month and it is during this time that we shed light on something that plagues all of us, for one reason or another.

Stress can come from many different things and can be acute or chronic. Acute, or short-term, stress is the body’s immediate reaction to a perceived threat. This is often referred to as the fight-or-flight response. This type of stress isn’t always bad and doesn’t usually cause significant problems however, when it occurs frequently or on a regular basis, it can trigger anxiety, panic attacks, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other health-related issues. Chronic stress occurs when there are several acute stressors that don’t go away. The body does not have a fight-or-flight response to this type of stress. As a matter of fact, you may not even recognize this type of stress at all. It typically builds up over time and the effects may be more problematic. Chronic, or long-term, stress can lead to a wide range of illnesses such as headaches, stomach problems, and depression as well as increase the risk of serious conditions like stroke and heart disease.

If you suffer from chronic stress and can’t influence or change the situation, then you’ll need to change your approach. Try the following:

  • Recognize when you don’t have control and let it go.
  • Don’t get anxious about situations that you cannot change.
  • Take control of your own reactions and focus your mind on something that makes you feel calm and in control.
  • Develop a vision for healthy living, wellness, & personal growth. Set realistic goals to help you realize your vision.

There are many different ways to de-stress. Exercise has been proven to reduce stress hormones & chemicals more than any other activity. Whether it’s just a walk around the neighborhood, joining a new sport, participating in yoga or pilates, lifting weights, or taking a new class at your local gym, it will do wonders for your mind & body. Exercise and other physical activity produce endorphins, which are chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers and improve the ability to sleep, which in turn reduces stress. Endorphins are also known as a “feel-good neurotransmitter.” When you exercise, your body produces endorphins which ultimately mean you will not only look good, you will feel good too!

Most of our internal stressors come from our own thoughts and beliefs. We have the ability to control these, but sometimes we become plagued by worry, anxiety, uncertainty, fears, and other forms of negativity. External stressors are things that happen to us that we often cannot control. These are unpredictable events include new deadlines at work and unexpected financial issues as well as major life changes such as a promotion, the birth or adoption of a child, or unexpected health issues or death of a loved one.

While you can’t avoid stress, you can minimize it by changing how you choose to respond to it. The ultimate reward will be a healthy, balanced life.

References:

adaa.org

mayoclinic.com

https://foh.psc.gov/calendar/stress.html /

helpguide.org/

https://www.active.com/fitness/articles/7-ways-exercise-relieves-stress

health.harvard.edu

 

Decreased Dementia Associated with Midlife Cardiovascular Fitness

In a 44-year-long study involving women, high midlife cardiovascular fitness was related to a decreased risk in dementia.  The study found a dose-dependent relationship between fitness level and dementia risk.  Those with a high cardiovascular fitness level had only a 5% incidence of all-cause dementia by the end of the study, as compared with 25% for medium fitness, and 32% for low fitness.  Furthermore, for those who did develop dementia, the onset was an average of five years later in the high fitness group, than in the medium fitness group.  The average age of dementia was 11 years higher in women with a higher fitness level than those with a medium fitness level.

Cardiovascular fitness levels were measured at the start of the study using a stationary bicycle test that incrementally increased workload, in which participants cycled to exhaustion.  Dementia assessments were administered to the participants every 5-10 years thereafter.  The women who had the highest fitness levels also on average had higher wine consumption, their own income, and less hypertension compared with the medium or low fitness groups.  Although this study only involved women, similar conclusions can be extrapolated to men.  A Swedish study that tested cardiovascular fitness utilizing the bicycle test in 18-year-old men, found an increased risk in the onset of dementia occurring among medium fitness levels as compared with highly fit men, and further increased the risk in those with low fitness levels.  A very high dementia incidence was found particularly in participants who could not complete the bicycle test before reaching a submaximal load.

Although the findings were not causative, there is a definitive association between higher cardiovascular fitness and a lower risk for dementia.  Physiologically speaking, those who are the most fit, have a greater amount of oxygen circulating through their bodies.  Higher oxygenation to muscles increase endurance and performance.  Similarly, the same effect can be hypothesized to apply to brain function, as many associative studies have supported.  In short, increasing your cardiovascular fitness level will almost surely enhance your mental function.  Yet another pillar for the benefits of exercise.

by Rima Sidhu, Maze Health

Concussions: What You Need to Know

Concussions, also known as a Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI), occur when there is an impact to the head and the brain hits against the bone inside of the cranium and bounces and hits the other side. Berger asserts that the brain gets scraped against any bone irregulates on the inside of the cranial bones. The impact can stretch and tear tiny blood vessels and delicate nervous tissues. The scraping on the inside of the cranium can cause bleeding and bruising to the brain. Depending on the severity of the impact, it can lead to momentary alteration or loss of consciousness, or posttraumatic amnesia.

What you might have not been told is that post-concussion injuries can be accompanied by post-traumatic stress symptoms (PTSD). PTSD symptoms occur when we are exposed to an experience that overwhelms our instinctive ability to protect ourselves. When we either recall or re-experience the original traumatic event, the nervous system reacts as if we were reliving the upsetting episode. Highly charged emotions hijack our thinking as our nervous system remains stuck as implicit memory of the traumatic episode. Common PTSD symptoms are manifested in highly aroused anxiety, panic attacks, avoidance, flashbacks, loss of interest, social isolation or irritability. What is really important is that concussion and PTSD symptoms go hand-in-hand and both symptoms must be addressed to restore complete healing.

However, underreporting and/or the pressure to return to competition/class often cuts short the necessary time for the brain to rest. A May 2013 survey revealed 53 percent of high school students would continue to play even if they had a headache stemming from a head injury. Just 54 percent said they would “always or sometimes report symptoms of a concussion to their coach” as per Chris Nowinski, a former athlete himself and co-founder of Sports Legacy Institute.

If young athletes minimize headaches or pain symptoms, then what does this say about giving importance to the lingering emotional symptoms that remain unaddressed? The symptoms of mTBI of PTSD can mimic and overlap with one another and trigger each other. Non-trauma trained professionals may not even consider addressing PTSD symptoms at all. Hence, individuals may present PTSD symptoms and not necessarily associate them with the concussion.

It is precisely during resting time that athletes become restless. Driven by a mental toughness culture and/or the fear of losing out potential athletic scholarships, emotions like depression and anger are normally experienced. Research indicates that depression is about 8 times more common in the first year after Mtbi than in the general population. Likewise, studies are showing that ADHD symptoms may appear even 7 to 10 years after the concussion episode took place. Dr. Asarnow from UCLA indicates that these children may do relatively well when are less academically challenged, but as studying becomes more demanding, ADHD symptoms become more apparent.

A real concern is that teenage athletes are turning into alcohol as a way to “cure” emotional pain. However, drugs and use of alcohol will only worsen the depressive symptoms. Not only it reduces the effectiveness of anti-depressive medication, it can lead to a concerning addiction. Likewise, the recovery time to treat concussions will be prolonged as its symptoms stronger symptoms are typically experienced.

What you NOW know:

  • Concussions are accompanied by PTSD symptoms;
  • Underreporting emotional discomfort will only prolong healing process;
  • Anger, anxiety, and depression are normal emotional symptoms that need to be addressed or athlete may find unhealthy coping skills to alleviate such a pain;
  • The time to begin addressing emotional discomfort is during resting time as boredom may lead to cut short or underreport symptoms.

 

Alex Diaz, PhD

Sports Mental Edge

Alcohol Awareness Month

April is Alcohol Awareness Month, which provides a focused opportunity across America to increase awareness and understanding of alcoholism, its causes, effective treatment and recovery. This year’s theme is “Changing Attitudes: It’s not a ‘rite of passage.’” This brings an opportunity to decrease stigma and misunderstandings of alcoholism to break down the barriers to treatment & recovery and make seeking help more readily available to all those suffering.

According to the CDC, alcohol abuse is the 3rd highest cause of death in the US with 88,000 per year. More shocking, of the 3.9 million Americans who seek help for substance abuse, 2.5 million seek alcohol treatment. Long-term alcohol use can cause serious health complications affecting every organ in your body, including your brain. Additionally, it can damage your emotional stability, finances, and/or career, as well as negatively impact your family, friends and colleagues. If you or someone you know is unable to limit alcohol consumption, seek treatment immediately. Let’s reduce the statistics today and pave the way for a healthier tomorrow.

In the Know About IBS

Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS, is a functional bowel disorder of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract characterized by recurrent abdominal pain and discomfort. It’s often accompanied by changes in bowel function as well as diarrhea, constipation or a combination of both, typically over months or years. The severity of the disorder varies from person to person

According to the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD), 25-45 million people in the United States have IBS. IBS usually starts in early adulthood, affecting twice as many women as men. Approximately 10-20% of the population has IBS but at least half of all sufferers never seek medical attention. IBS can be uncomfortable however it does not lead to serious disease, such as cancer. Most people with IBS can ease symptoms with changes in diet, medicine, and stress relief.

Some people experience symptoms that come and go and are just mildly annoying. Others have such severe daily bowel problems that IBS affects their ability to work, sleep and enjoy life. In addition, symptoms may change over time. A person may have severe symptoms for several weeks and then feel well for months or even years. Symptoms vary from person to person but may include cramps or pain in the stomach, constipation &/or diarrhea, mucus in the stool, swollen or bloated stomach area, gas, and/or feeling uncomfortably full or nauseous after eating a normal size meal. Additionally, women with IBS may have more symptoms during their menstrual periods. Many women (with and without IBS) experience variations in gastrointestinal symptoms during their menstrual cycle. Several studies also suggest that women with endometriosis have greater bowel symptoms compatible with a diagnosis of IBS.

Symptoms of IBS can be triggered by various things including stress, hormones, and food. Many people have worse IBS symptoms when they eat or drink certain foods or beverages. Your doctor may recommend changes to your diet which includes eliminating high-gas foods, gluten, or FODMAPs. Doctors may treat irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) by recommending changes in what you eat and other lifestyle changes, medicines, probiotics, and mental health therapies. You may have to try a few different treatments to see what works best for you. Some changes your doctor may recommend include eating more fiber, avoiding gluten, following a low FODMAP diet, increasing your physical activity, reducing stressful situations, and/or getting enough sleep. He or she may also recommend certain medications to help ease IBS symptoms.

If you or someone you know have any of the symptoms described, speak with a medical professional. The sooner you seek help, the sooner you will be on the path to feeling better.

By Gina Stallone

References:

Womenshealthmagazine.com

Mayoclinic.com

Aboutibs.org

niddk.nih.gov

Older, but Not Weaker

Bone strength peaks by age 30 in humans. That is it…after that your bones get weaker. Muscle strength peaks at about 25 years old and plateaus until 35 years old. After that, you lose muscle strength. So what does that mean for the aging athlete?

Why do you need to maintain bone mass (strength)? Because weaker bones are more likely to break. The death rate after a hip fracture is14-58%. Studies show up 50% of people die within one year of breaking their hip. You don’t want to be one of these unfortunate victims of death by osteoporosis.

There are a few ways to maintain bone strength. First, it is important to reach your peak strength by developing good bones when you are young. You need to get adequate vitamin D and Calcium in your diet at all ages, but if you deprive your body of either of these at a younger age your bones will start out weak. Impact activities such as running or even walking build bone. Non-weight bearing activities like swimming do not build bone. Using weights and doing resistance exercises also helps build bone.

Similarly, building muscle is done through exercise and strength training. Each year after 35 years old, the average person loses 0.5-1% of their muscle mass. If you do not work out, you will get weaker. Even if you work-out, you will still lose strength but not as quickly.

For bones, the most important and common fractures are the hip and the wrist. Leg work-outs especially for the quads are key to maintaining the hip. I like squats, biking, walking and if able running. If any of these hurt, find out why and don’t do them. See your local orthopedist if you develop pain or swelling.

To strengthen your arms, biceps and triceps are important. If your forearms don’t get tired working out, add wrist flexions and extensions with light weights. Wrist fractures are very common in patients older than 65 years old and can be prevented in many people by strength training.

Unfortunately, a common consequence of weak bones is compression fractures of the spine. When older people say they are shrinking it is often due to collapse of the bones of the spine from osteoporosis. Core strengthening and impact exercises can help prevent these fractures.

At any age, you need to eat well and exercise. If you don’t do both, you will get older quicker. You will become frail and more likely to die at a younger age. This is up to you. If you develop pain, don’t give up but find out what the problem is. Have a good doctor you trust available to help you maintain your good health.

By Rick Weinstein, MD, MBA

Director Orthopedic Surgery Westchester Sport & Spine at White Plains Hospital