Building Strong And Healthy Bones In Old Age | The Physio Co
“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” … said no good physiotherapist ever!
Just like, “You can’t grow new bone in an older person.” Right? Wrong!
Bone is a living, growing tissue made up of mostly collagen and calcium. In our younger years, new bone is added to the skeleton much faster than old bone is removed.
Calcium is the mineral that makes our bones hard and strong and we get it from our diet: think dairy products and dark leafy greens such as kale and broccoli.
It’s true that as we age our calcium and other bone mineral intake reduces, and after about 30, the rate at which we produce new bone slows down – slower than our old bone is removed. When the removal rate is significantly slower than the replacement rate, we risk developing osteoporosis.
What is osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a disease affecting more than a million Australians (mostly women over 50).
Due to either a slow replacement rate or a quick removal rate, our bones become brittle and are at high risk of fracturing. Osteoporosis is a huge burden on our older generation and can lead to many other complications and diseases.
Can we do anything to help maintain our bone growth and prevent osteoporosis as we age? Absolutely!
This can include getting enough “bone-healthy nutrients” such as calcium and vitamin D and avoiding habits such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption and maintaining a healthy weight range.
One of the most important ways to help maintain our bone growth is exercise – but what sort of exercise, you may ask?
Many people think that if we are at risk of fracturing our bones, the best exercise is low-impact activities such as swimming or cycling. However, research shows the best way to stimulate bone production is actually high-impact exercise such as skipping, jogging and jumping.
And what’s the next best thing to do if high impact isn’t right for you? What we call resistance training – lifting heavy weights, at a rapid rate for short bursts with long rest periods (safely, of course).
This may seem scary – particularly if you are someone who suffers from osteoporosis and has experienced a fracture before.
The physiotherapists at The Physio Co provide physiotherapy for elderly Australians and can guide you through the correct exercises for you and your bone health. Contact us today to book an appointment with one of our experienced physiotherapists – call on 1300 797 793 or email [email protected]
Article by Madeline Low (Physiotherapist – South Australia)