Isn’t having osteoporosis by age 50 just normal? What can I do about it?

It’s no surprise that by our 50’s we females have osteoporosis.

Too much SUGAR and highly processed foods, stress, anxiety, hormonal imbalances, fluctuations in weight, improper alignment, and lack of movement are all contributing factors, which we experienced a lot of growing up.

And now we have to concern ourselves with the ramifications that come with that diagnosis as we age, like hip fractures and spinal compression fractures.

We likely all know someone who has suffered a hip fracture whose health and quality of life quickly spiraled downhill.  They may not have even lived long.

We were concerned about this scenario happening to our parents, and now we need to think about how to avoid it for ourselves.

What we really want is to be able to still move well – to get down on the floor to play with the grandkids, to continue to garden, to continue enjoying doing our artwork and other hobbies, to keep up with house chores, and to go for walks.

Preferably without joint pain and stiff muscles.

So, what do we do?

Keep moving.  I am talking movement, not exercise.

If you want to generate bone, you must load your skeleton very particularly & perpendicularly to the ground.[1]

Osteoporosis is not an all-over bone disease, but an indication of where your bones are not being loaded properly.

Osteoporosis doesn’t necessarily mean you have bone loss throughout your entire body, rather in a few key places.[2]

If you’ve been diagnosed with osteoporosis, ask “where?”

Knowing where you have low bone density will be helpful in addressing the problem.

The four major areas most people experience loss are:

  1. Ribs
  2. Wrists
  3. Vertebrae
  4. Head of the femur (i.e. the top of the thigh bone, often mistakenly referred to as the hip bone. There is no hip bone.  The hip is a joint made from the pelvis and thigh bone.)

To address the low bone mineral problem, you need a bone-generating plan tailored to your needs.

Diet and nutrition are crucial in providing good minerals while NOT ROBBING us of our minerals.

Because of the fertilizers, pesticides and other chemicals used in agriculture our soils have become deplete of minerals.  Hence, the food grown is deplete in minerals.

What’s worse, the standard American diet consists of highly refined, denatured foods, which are all the more deplete in minerals and other nutrients.

Many foods are so deplete in nutrients that they require our bodies’ stored minerals (primarily from our bones) to metabolize.

For instance, one molecule of refined sugar requires 56 molecules of magnesium and a whole host of other nutrients to metabolize.  Poor bones! 

Equally important to nutrition though is load, alignment, and movement.  The failure for bone to regenerate at a proper rate is largely a mechanical problem.

The signal for bones to grow starts with a cell being squished within the bone.  Without that squish, the nutrients that support bone growth can’t do their job.  Your body can’t utilize the nutrients (even if they’re there) without the proper signal.

This is where the “weight-bearing” exercise we always hear about comes into play.

Weight-bearing doesn’t mean using weights.  For optimal bone regeneration, you need as much squish in the bone growth signaling cells as possible.

In order to get the maximum squish, you need to keep your bones holding the proper amount of weight.  Not too little.  And not too much.[3]

Moving while weight bearing gives the greatest response to bone development “in the right places.”

Resistance exercises as we think of them will build bone.  The act of muscle working, pulling on the bone, is enough to stimulate bone growth.  BUT not necessarily where we most need it.

Bone loss in the hips (eventually leading to a break) is one of the biggest problems in osteoporosis, along with bone loss in the spine (again leading to fracture).  Using weights and doing resistance training doesn’t build these areas in a way that reduces the risk of breaks or fractures, even though you are building bone tissue in other places.[4]

The best bone building, weight-bearing exercise is walking.[5]

And walking is better than running because bone building favors lower-impact loading versus high-impact loading.[6]

And your alignment plays a huge role in bone remodeling and bone growth.  You can make your body more weight-bearing by properly stacking your body.

How to properly stack your body is a topic in and of itself and will require its own blog post(s).  Those posts to come.

But here are some things to consider now when you walk:

  • Is your torso in front of you?  Not good.  Your walk is less weight-bearing than it could be.
  • Do you have too much curve in your upper spine?
  • Is your head out in front of your body?

Start to notice your position.  Have someone else look at you.  See what you can do to look more like the image on the right.

To achieve proper stacking means no heels whatsoever.  This could be a new thought if you are not into minimalist shoes.  But it’s something to consider.

No matter what size the heel, you are impeding your ability to be vertical and perpendicular to the ground.

You can bend the knees, flex the ankles, tuck your pelvis and arch your back.  All of these adjustments can move your body upright so that you look straight.  But your skeleton is no longer stacked vertical to the floor.

This reduces the compression on the bones and changes the direction of load.  So, your bone generating cells are not getting their optimal squish.[7]

Nonetheless, start standing and walking more to get some load even if it’s not the maximum.  Improvement will take time.  If you are like me, you spent a lifetime not aligned properly and not knowing it.  It’s not going to change overnight.

So, now before you do anything else.  Get up and go for a walk around the block.  Don’t let the fact that you don’t have minimalist shoes deter you from doing so.

Remember your, “why.”  Playing with the grandkids, gardening, …

Peace and grace,

Karen

[1] Bowman K 2016. Alignment Matters.  Propriometrics Press p.20

[2] Bowman K 2016. Alignment Matters.  Propriometrics Press

[3] Ibid

[4] Ibid

[5] Ibid, p 400

[6] Ibid

[7] Ibid

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Enjoy these favorite dishes. 
 
Simple, nutrient dense recipes that will leave you feeling well-nourished and deeply satisfied.
 
Plus monthly REAL food tips & inspiration right to your inbox!
 
Simply sign up with your name and email address!