How to Increase Bone Density to Prevent Osteoporosis

by Annie on January 25, 2012 · 1 comment

in Exercise & Injuries,Healthy Living,Women's Health

According to my mom, there is a saying in the old country that most women lose one tooth per baby. Babies are nursed in the country side and formula is rarely used.  It is too expensive or there is limited access. Since I gave birth to now, I’ve developed 4 cavities. And yes, I believe breast feeding is the culprit. You lose some of your bone density with each child.

Amazing breast milk and bone density

Breast milk is amazing and indiscriminate of the mother’s health. The breast milk of a malnourished mother will provide just as much minerals and vitamins as a well nourished mother. The only difference may be the fat content might be higher for a well nourished mother.

If breast milk is providing all this good stuff, what happens to the mother if she is malnourished or undernourished? Since a woman’s body is made for reproduction, your treasonous body will compromise the mother’s body to feed the baby. Hence, the cavities for women not getting enough calcium in their diet.

If you are in your 20s, you can still increase your long-term bone density because the rate of bone density loss is slower than the rate you can increase your bone density. However, for someone in their 30s like me, my rate of bone density loss is equal to or greater than the rate I am building up my bone density.

Why women more prone to develop osteoporosis

My bones are much more vulnerable to developing osteoporosis than my husband’s even without the issue of carrying and nourishing our baby. Women stop building bone density between 30-35 years old. I am at a stage where my body is building and losing bone density at the same rate (without the baby factor).

Now add in yo-yo dieting without exercise and you have both fat loss and muscle loss each time you go on a diet. You naturally start to lose about 4% of your muscle mass per decade. Menopause accelerates the muscle mass loss to 10% per decade. Studies have shown that women who participate in a regular strength training exercise routine are less likely to develop osteoporosis. Men are less likely to develop osteoporosis because they do not experience the hormone changes we do over their lifetime and start out with more muscle mass to begin with.

You might think your bones are hard and a fixed lifeless structure. But bone density is constantly changing, growing, diminishing, or re-building, depending on your current circumstances. Taking calcium supplement is not the only preventative measure to curtail bone density loss.

Amazingly, you cannot tell whether someone has great bone density by their appearances. I used to belong to a bowling league where half the members have been collecting social security longer than I’ve been working since graduation. Two women fell while bowling one year. They are both the same age — 82 at the time. One is heavyset and the other is thin. You would think the thin senior would end up with the broken hip, but it is her heavyset friend who ended up sitting out two seasons.  Vi, the thin senior, ended up with a bruise and promptly brought a new pair of bowling shoes to prevent future falls.

Exercises to increase bone density

Regular weight bearing exercises increase your bone density. Swimming and biking has its place in your exercise routine, but not if you want to increase your bone density. These low impact exercises improves your endurance, but its low impact nature would not stress your bones enough to cause your bones to strengthen itself when it repairs or replace the cells damaged from the weight bearing exercise.

The most important factor in finding exercises you can do for the rest of your life is to find weight bearing exercises that is gentle on your joints, provides an aerobic element, and strengthens your bone density. I know this is a tall order.

Do you know what is Vi’s secret for strong bones? Vi never learned to drive. Vi walked everywhere in her youth, catching rides with her husband and friends for errands too far for her to walk. Every day she was adding an extra layer of spackle to her bone density when she walked in her youth. And now you have a sassy LOL (little old lady) that is an active member of our bowling league.

Why do people often ignore walking as an exercise option? Because people exercise for weight loss. However, you can lose weight from walking. Walking is gentle on your joints, provides an aerobic element, strengthens your bone density, and is an exercise you can do for the rest of your life no matter what age you are. Plus, you can walk anywhere, even in your own home with these free walking exercise videos.

Even with all the prenatal vitamins I am taking while nursing, you can clearly see from my cavities that I am not getting enough calcium in my diet. You cannot tell from looking at the exterior that my bone density is probably weaker after giving birth. I wish I’d paid more attention to building up my bone density in my 20s instead of believing that my body will always be strong and youthful. I need to get back into my regular walking routine. 

Until next time and thanks for stopping by Small Steps to Health. If you like what you are reading, please share it with your friends.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Dr. J March 1, 2012 at 12:26 pm

Interesting material. I’m okay with most of it except the cavities and baby thing. Perhaps you might lose a tooth from bone loss around the tooth from periodontal disease, but calcium and cavities, in the opinion of someone with more letters after their name than in my name (lol), are not related as the tooth is formed much earlier in life, and I don’t think teeth lose calcium. Cavities are formed from bacteria, sugars and their interaction with forming destructive acids on the tooth structure.


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