Skeletal Fitness: 3 Important Exercises

Skeletal FitnessSkeletal Fitness is important throughout our lives.

With 12,000 boomers a day turning 65, that’s one every 8 seconds for the next 18 years; and with 50% of women over the age of 50 projected to have an osteoporosis related fracture in their lifetime, I thought I’d be a little practical this year and give you a mini workout to help you protect your bones.

Skeletal Fitness

Our bones are living tissue and grow stronger with weight bearing and resistance exercise. This is called Bone Loading and can help us maintain our skeletal fitness.

And since the three areas most at risk for Osteoporotic fracture are the Spine, the Hip and the Wrist, here are 3 easy Bone Loading exercises, one for each of those areas, you can do using a pair of hand weights or a couple of soup cans. Use a weight that makes the exercise feel somewhat hard after 8 reps. Remember to always exhale on the exertion. Do 8-15 reps of each of these exercises. Start where you’re comfortable and build up.

And of course always consult your doctor before beginning this Skeletal Fitness exerciseprogram.

Double arm row: Loads Spine

  • Start with arms in front of you, weights together.
  • Slowly row arms back, bending elbows bringing weights to chest height.
  • Squeeze shoulder blades together, without shrugging your shoulders.

 

Lunge – Loads Hip and Femur (thigh bone)

  • Stand tall, feet about shoulder width apart, hands and weights at your sides.
  • Keep body erect and lunge forward with left foot, bending both knees to help facilitate the move. (Right heel comes off the floor). Your front knee should be aligned over the second toe of that foot and your weight should be centered between your front and back foot.
  • Hold for 8 seconds, (remember to breathe) return to starting position and repeat lunging with right foot.

 

 

 

Wrist Curls

  • Hold arms in front of you palms up.
  • Using only your wrists, curl weights toward your body until knuckles are facing the ceiling.
  • Slowly lower and repeat.

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Clicking Joints: Should I Worry?

Clicking JointsClicking Joints: Should I worry? What are those clicking, popping and crackling sounds in my joints? Is it Arthritis? Have I overdosed on breakfast cereal? No, it’s probably Crepitus. Sounds like a precursor to decrepitude, but it’s not. Crepitus is just the word used to describe the clicking sounds.

In fact, in most cases, if there’s no pain associated with those sounds, it’s nothing to worry about. Many people live their whole lives with some clicking joints and popping without any ill effects.

 Clicking Joints?

Clicking Joints have closed bags of synovial fluid, called bursa, between them. They cushion joint movement so we can walk and work painlessly. That fluid has a little bit of air or gas dissolved in it. Through our daily movement, that gas can form a bubble or cavity in the bag. The fancy term is Cavitation.

When you move your knee, elbow or shoulder, the bubble bursts and makes a click or popping sound. Cracking your knuckles is a good example of breaking those bubbles on purpose. So, the rule of thumb is: no pain, no problem.

Snapping however is another story. That rubber band-like sound is often accompanied by pain. It’s a sign you have an injury, or that some muscle, nerve or connective tissue is out of place.

In this case you should see your doctor. A good way to promote healthy joints in general is to strengthen the muscles around them. Regular strength training can make a difference at any age. If you haven’t been exercising in a while, start slowly and build up. Last thing you want to do is hurt the joints you’re trying to strengthen.

So, what’s the takeaway here? Well, next time your friends have clicks and pops in their joints, you can tell them they probably have Crepitus!

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Does Low Bone Mass Mean Osteoporosis?

mbai-skeleton-hipNearly 30 years ago when I was in school, I wrote an exercise physiology paper on exercise and osteoporosis.

At that time there wasn’t much research available. But even then, the studies I found on tennis players, astronauts, and bed rest pointed in the direction that weight-bearing exercise could help maintain the bone density you have and even promote bone growth. I was intrigued. I’ve followed the research over the years and even created an osteoporosis exercise program.

In working with my clients, I often hear the question “what’s the difference between osteoporosis and low bone mass? (osteopenia) And what can I do about it?

Well to answer these questions, I have to start at the beginning.

Osteoporosis is a disease, which, over time, causes bones to become thinner, more porous and less able to support the body. Bones can become so thin that they break during normal, every day activity. Osteoporosis is a major health threat. 54 Million are at risk, nearly 80% are women.

Postmenopausal women are particularly at risk because they stop producing estrogen, a major protector of bone mass.

As we age some bone loss is inevitable. Women age 65 or men age 70 should get a bone mineral density test. If you have a family history of osteoporosis or other risk factors you may need a BMD much earlier.

The test is completely painless, non-invasive and takes only a few minutes.
It compares your bone mineral density to that of an average healthy young person. Your results are called your T score. The difference between your score and the average young person’s T-score is called a standard deviation. (SD)

Here is how to interpret your T score:

  • Between +1 and –1: normal bone density.
  • Between -1 and -2.5: low bone density (osteopenia).
  • T-score of -2.5 or lower: osteoporosis.

Until recently it was thought that if you had low bone mass (osteopenia) you were well on your way to getting osteoporosis. But it’s now known even at this stage bone loss can be slowed down, stopped and even reversed. You and your doctor will have a number of options depending upon your particular condition.

Many MDs like to start with a calcium and vitamin D rich diet coupled with weight bearing exercise. For many of us, that’s all we need. Others will require medication and there are many bone-building medications available.

Remember it’s never too early to start taking care of your bones. The more bone density you have as a young person the less likely to end up with osteoporosis later in life.

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For more info on Women over 50 Health and Fitness and at home exercise programs and Osteoporosis exercise videos please visit www.mirabaiholland.com

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Follow Mirabai Holland, Certified Health Coach & Exercise Physiologist:

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And for more info visit http://www.mirabaiholland.com

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Fashion Flash Monday!

Fashion FlashToday’s Fashion Flash host is Cindy from PrimeBeauty for women over 40. Cindy’s site is chock full of info, beauty products and deals. Check out her Frugal Friday featuring affordable, effective beauty products and giveaways. You are sure to find something to help you be fabulous inside and out.

Fashion, Beauty, Fitness & More

The rest of us Fashion Flash experts are busy writing about all the best in fashion, beauty, health, fitness and lifestyle for women over 40!

Here is another Q & A from askmirabai@movingfree.com

Q. Dear Mirabai,
I am in fairly decent shape at 56. I stay active and exercise. What does it mean when I hear my bones sometimes ‘crack’ when I do some movements?  I do not ever feel pain. Will the exercise help and maybe stop the popping?
Barbara

A. Exercise is good for both the body and mind, but it probably won’t stop the popping.  People of all ages and fitness levels experience that popping sound and it doesn’t necessarily indicate any abnormal condition.
Your joints are lubricated with a substance called synovial fluid. It contains nitrogen, oxygen and carbon dioxide gasses. The popping sound is actually bubbles of those gasses escaping when you move your joints. This is normal and nothing to worry about. But people who feel pain at those moments should consult their doctors. They may have arthritic joints due to the loss of cartilage.

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