Does regular exercise protect against osteoporosis?

Currently more than one million Australians are affected by osteoporosis and experts predict thousands of us are expected to suffer from low bone mass in the next five years. New international research highlights how easy it is to make sure you’re not one of them.

A recent study by Les Mills and Pennsylvania State University found that low weight, high repetition resistance training will increase your bone density.

Osteoporosis makes bones become brittle leading to a higher risk of breaks than in normal bone

Study participants completed two to three BODYPUMP™ classes per week which uses light to moderate weights with lots of repetition. The result? They all experienced up to eight per cent bone mineral density increases in their legs, pelvis, arms and spine. That's a good thing.

Osteoporosis usually has no symptoms until a fracture occurs which is why osteoporosis is called the ‘silent disease’

You may not know it but having a high bone density level is paramount to good health – especially as you age. Once you hit 40 your bone mineral density declines at an accelerated rate. Head of Research at Les Mills, Bryce Hastings says these findings have turned an old theory on its head. 

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Anyone 50+ who experiences a broken bone from a minor bump or fall should be investigated for osteoporosis

“It's often thought the heavier the weight you lift, the more benefit you get from it but that's not always true. Lifting very heavy weights has always presented barriers for older and untrained adults as sometimes this type of intensity can be outside the realm of their physical capabilities. That's why using lighter weights is so good – because everyone can do it no matter their age or experience.”

Osteoporosis occurs when bones lose minerals, such as calcium, more quickly than the body can replace them, causing a loss of bone thickness (bone density or mass)

The study also found outstanding results for those with osteopenia – a condition caused by low bone density. These individuals experience significant bone mineral density increases of up to 29 per cent.

As bones become thinner and less dense, even a minor bump or fall can cause a serious fracture

Age is no barrier when it comes to increasing bone density. You may not always be able to see the results, but benefits will prove their worth well in the future as those with strong bones are less likely to break them from falls later in life. 

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Do you have osteoporosis? How do you cope with it? Let us know in the comments below.