Osteoporosis occurs when bones lose minerals, such as calcium, quicker than the body can replace them, resulting in a loss of bone thickness. This causes bones to become brittle, with a higher risk of breaking than normal bones.
Women are at greater risk of osteoporosis due to the rapid decline in oestrogen levels during menopause, which causes bone to lose calcium and other minerals at a much faster rate. From the age of 25 until the time of menopause, bone mass remains relatively stable, but following menopause it declines quickly if there is no intervention.
To limit the development or progression of osteoporosis, strength and balance training is important. Balance training helps change bone mass and limit osteoporosis, while also helping to improve balance and overall function. Balance needs to be practised regularly to maintain improvements and could be as simple as standing on your toes while waiting for the kettle to boil.
Education in risks of falling and awareness of appropriate activities is also essential.
Current research indicates strength or resistance training and/or high impact loading are the most appropriate types of exercises for bone health. As with all exercises, the body adapts, so it is very important to vary, challenge and ensure that exercises are performed correctly. Bone mass accumulates slowly over a long period, so this form of exercise will have an increasing effect over time as well.
knowledge … self-management … prevention