Australians are being urged to focus on strengthening their bones through exercise and increased calcium intake to help prevent the onset of osteoporosis.
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.
Anita Hobson Powell of Exercise & Sports Science Australia’s (ESSA) used National Healthy Bones Weeks to call 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.
“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.
Factors which 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.
The recommended daily intake of calcium is three serves of dairy foods, with one serve being the equivalent of:
- 1 cup (250ml) milk
- 1 tub (200g) yogurt
- 2 slices (40g) cheese
For more information and fact sheets please visit www.exerciseismedicine.org.au. It is 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.