We often hear a lot about muscles and the importance of strength. Bone strength is something that is less frequently discussed, however bone health is important for function.
Here are a few things that healthy bones are needed for:
- Soft tissue attachment for stability and movement
- Storage of minerals that are essential for life
- Production of blood cells
- Protection of organs, nerves and blood vessels.
A common bone disease is osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a condition where the structure of the bone tissue becomes thin and fragile. There are levels to bone density and osteoporosis must be clinically diagnosed after undergoing a Bone Mineral Density test.
Australian statistics show that up to 20% of Australians over the age of 65 have been diagnosed with osteoporosis with females more effected than males.
So, what can you do about it?
You can load your bones! You might think that having an aging and changing body means that you should avoid training which involves some joint impact, in fact it is the opposite. Wolff’s law states that your bones will adapt based on the stress or demands placed on them (Cox 2007). This means loading! You can load your bones up in a safe way by doing a few of these things:
- Strength training – Muscle contraction puts load through your bones
- Stomping the ground – Sending small compressions through your bones prompt reinforcing adaptations
- Doing some hopping/jumping on the ground or mini trampoline – a bit more dynamic than stomping the ground and also good for balance and coordination
- Doing fast movements (such as swinging a golf club, kicking or throwing a ball) – engage in play-based fun
- Brisk walking on hard ground – getting the firm feedback of the ground will again prompt remodelling of the bones for the better.
The aim of exercise is to prompt your body to change and adapt, you want to expose it to just a little more than its used to. Then as you recover your body will remodel and come back stronger and better than before!
Unsure? Reach out and contact the team at Mates4Mates today to learn more and get a program suitable for your needs.
For more information on Wolff’s law and definitions: Cox, R. (2007). Oxford Dictionary of Sports Science and Medicine. Reference Review.