Several times this week, I have been reminded about a major concern that grows with age – falling!
Because when an older person falls, their risk of a breaking a bone is much greater. Worldwide, a fracture (bone break) caused by osteoporosis happens every 3 seconds!
Bone tissue is constantly being lost and made in your body. When you are young, the ratio between loss and gain of bone tissue is balanced. As you age, more bone is lost than made. Osteoporosis is estimated to affect 200 million women worldwide – approximately one-tenth of women aged 60, one-fifth of women aged 70, two-fifths of women aged 80 and two-thirds of women aged 90. It is important to know too that weight loss can further your risk of bone loss.
Our body is a use it to keep it system. You may have heard that astronauts lose bone when they are in space. Without gravity creating a bit of “stress” on their bones, new bone tissue is not made and more bone is lost each day. We know calcium builds strong bones, but no amount of calcium will tell bones to grow if they are not being used. The “stress” or pressure of muscles pulling on bones is what tells the tissues to grow!
The hidden cause:
With aging, as one hears of people around their age falling and fracturing a bone, they start to wonder “could that happen to me?”. The worry grows because they know that a broken bone could mean the beginning of a whole new lifestyle; filled with doctors appointments, being more dependent on others, possibly moving out of their home, etc. This fear of falling causes more choices not to risk falling and thus becoming less active – and the spiral of inactivity begins…
We see this loss of strength and bone with aging so often, we assume this is just what happens when you age. But we rarely consider that this invisible spiral of inactivity has unnaturally sped up the aging process. It starts with the fear of movement that comes from this assumption, so we move less, and moving less leads to loss of strength and bone and balance, and confirming what we believe – as you age you get weaker!
Strength training to the rescue! It is the way to break that cycle. When done in the way that specifically increases not only muscle and bone strength, but also coordination and balance, your body can age at the pace it is supposed to – without the spiral of inactivity getting in the way!
Strength training designed to tell your body “I am still using those bones and muscles” signals the muscles and bones to keep growing giving you a much better chance of staying strong, balanced, independent and most importantly confident you can move and keep moving for a long long time!
Keep moving, be well,