Osteoporosis: Build Strong Bones & Prevent Knee Pain

Safety is always a major concern for anyone and everyone. Whether it’s at work, at home, or simply out and about, we should always consider safety as a legitimate practice. This is especially true for the mature adult and that’s because of an invisible, underlying health issue known as osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is the thinning of bones as they become weak and brittle. As the human body ages, it becomes particularly susceptible to this disease. White and Asian women are particularly at high risk, especially women older women who are past menopause, but men are also affected, according to Mayo Clinic.

The American Recall Center states that 1 in 2 women and 1 in 4 men will fracture a bone because of osteoporosis.

Here’s a poster from the American Recall Center in regards to last month being Osteoporosis Awareness& Prevention Month.

Osteoporosis_Infographic

While there’s a lot of research out there pertaining to downside of the disease, there’s also plenty of research that shows us what we can do to prevent and battle this invisible monster.

There are some supplements available to you to increase bone density. Calcium and vitamin D, for example, are fantastic supplements that will increase bone density. You can also up your calcium intake by consuming more dairy products and/or by consuming almond, coconut, or cashew milk as they have about 50% more calcium per serving than most dairy milks.

One quick note: if you are a big-time caffeine consumer (I love me some coffee), then you might want to be careful of how much you’re consuming because caffeine has been shown to accelerate bone loss in people who don’t consume enough calcium, according to a study.

I would argue that the most sustainable and effective way to improve your bone density is through strength training.

Strength training (and exercising in general) is an excellent defender of osteoporosis and should become a priority in one’s lifestyle. One of the major benefits of strength training is increasing bone density, which will improve bone strength and durability. The best things about strength training and other forms of exercise is that it’s inexpensive and it literally makes you feel better! You also don’t need a physician’s referral to start exercising. You can literally walk into a gym right now and begin to improve your bone density by running through some exercises.

The best exercises for increasing bone density are free weight, body weight, and complex exercises. These exercises will recruit more muscles, improve your core strength and posture, and get you moving in more directions. Machines are good for just starting out, but you will absolutely want to be transitioning into free weights and body weight exercises as soon as possible.

(Hint, hint: A personal trainer would come in handy quite nicely during this juncture.)

Having good technique/form is crucial for every exercise and that’s where a quality trainer is crucial. Squatting has been known to be bad for knees.

I would say that’s false, squatting incorrectly is bad for your knees.

Squatting involves almost every muscle of your body, so you get a lot of bang for your buck. Here’s a few tips to improving your squat:

  • Make sure your knees do NOT go past your toes as you descend.
  • You should also make sure that your knees do NOT collapse inward. Stay back on your mid-foot/heels and keep your chest up. *A great cue for keeping your knees out is to “push your knees to the outside walls.”
  • Keep your core engaged and exhale on the way up
  • Use a chair or a bench to help assist you as you start squatting as they are safer for the knees. Here’s a video of myself demonstrating the body weight squat.

Practicing those tips at the gym, at home, or even at the work place can help improve your squat pattern. This, in turn, will develop better technique and more force transmitting through the muscles rather than the joints (preventing knee pain).

Osteoporosis is a serious issue and it’s becoming more relevant in our society. As noted, women in particular are more susceptible to this disease, especially those who have gone through menopause. Women also have a bit more of an uphill battle because it’s harder for women to develop lean muscle mass when compared to men.

That means that complex, body weight, and free weight exercises are even more crucial for women.

Make sure you’re getting enough calcium and vitamin D in your diet. If you aren’t, using a supplement is a good idea until you get your diet to where it needs to be. Obviously your best bet is to get exercising right away and do not shy away from strength training – it’s one of the best medicines, after all.