Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Stronger Bones Through Exercise

Exercise Your Way to Stronger Bones
Great Information from Dr. David Williams

Exercise is the single most important thing you can do to build stronger bones. It requires your body to move against the force of gravity. This movement promotes the healthy breakdown of old bone matter by cells called osteoclasts and the build up of new bone matter by cells called osteoblasts.
When this natural breakdown and repair process—called remodeling—is in balance, your bones stay strong and supple…and your entire skeleton can be completely regenerated in a period of 10 years or less!

The Best Exercise Choices
Weight-bearing exercises—such as dancing, walking, and jogging—are the best for maintaining and building bone strength. Strive to do at least 20 minutes of this kind of exercise, four times a week.
Studies show that a regular weight-bearing exercise program can increase bone mass by five to 10 percent—even more in those with low bone mass to begin with. And no matter their age, people who engage in regular weight-bearing exercise have higher bone densities than people of similar age who don’t exercise.
To further increase bone density, more strenuous exercise may be required. I recommend at least two sessions of resistance training each week. Have an exercise instructor at your local gym show you how to start with small weights you can use at home.
If you’ve exercised in the past—or even thought about it—but have gotten off track for one reason or another, now is the perfect time to get started again. With regular exercise, you’ll reap many health benefits...including stronger bones.
Other Steps for Building Bone
Although I believe that regular exercise is the most important factor in building strong bones, there are other things you can do for optimal bone health.
Eat a Healthy, Balanced Diet
A natural diet focused on healthy green vegetables can go a long way in providing the nutrients necessary to help keep your bone remodeling process in balance. You should also reduce your consumption of soft drinks because their phosphoric acid content can leach important calcium from your bones. Likewise, smoking and a high consumption of sugar, caffeine, or alcohol can be detrimental to bone health.
Supplements Are a Must
Even if you eat a completely natural, primarily vegetarian diet, it’s likely that this won’t be enough for optimal bone health. Because our foods are grown in nutrient-depleted soil and our bodies are under frequent stress, we simply aren’t getting the nutrients we need and our bones are unable to adequately absorb the nutrients available.

That’s where targeted supplements come in. I recommend you take the following in addition to a healthy diet.
Calcium (1,000-1,500 mg daily)Undoubtedly, this is the first mineral that comes to mind when you think of bone health. Certainly calcium is key, but it must be in the proper form in order to be taken up by your bones. Some of the best-absorbed types of supplemental calcium are calcium citrate, ascorbate, gluconate, and malate.

Magnesium (500-750 mg daily) In order for calcium to be properly absorbed into your bone matrix, it needs to be in balance with magnesium—in a 2:1 or 1:1 ratio. Magnesium also does its own work to support bone remodeling by promoting osteoblast activity.

Vitamin D (600-1,000 IU daily) This inexpensive, yet effective nutrient helps control calcium balance in the body and promotes your body’s uptake of calcium into your bones.
Vitamin K (500 mcg daily) This little-known vitamin works with vitamin D to attract calcium to your living bone matrix.

Ipriflavone (600 mg daily) This bioflavonoid helps to stimulate bone-building cells and inhibits cells that break down bone.

Remember, your bones are your structural foundation. Keeping them strong, flexible, and well nourished will make a huge difference in what you’ll be able to do and enjoy this year and in the years ahead. So start—or stick to—your exercise goals and try a bone-healthy diet and supplement program, too.

Stay Healthy,
Mollie McCarl
Certified Personal Trainer
Fitness Spa