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Osteoporosis (What to do About it?)

By Hawkins Williams
Certified Fitness Specialist for Older Adults

Osteoporosis is a very serious disease that can affect senior citizens. Osteoporosis is characterized by excessive bone loss. To find out if you are at risk, you can have a test performed. Dual energy x-ray absorption (DEXA) is how your doctor can determine if you have osteoporosis. The supplements that you can take are calcium, magnesium, and Vitamin D. It is recommended that people between the ages of 51 and 70 take 1200 mg of calcium and 400 IU of Vitamin D. Those who are 71 and older need 1200 mg of calcium and 600 IU of Vitamin D. However, you should check with your primary care physician. Strength training has also been shown to increase bone density. When your bones are stronger, you decrease the risk of breaking an arm or a leg.

Here are some of the results from strength training and increased bone density:

  • A 1994 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association revealed that women as old as 70 who strength trained twice a week for a year avoided excessive bone loss and slightly increased their bone density.
  • Women who have performed strength training have increased lumbar spine density by 1%. However, women who did not strength train decreased lumbar spine density by 2%.
  • A one-year study of menopausal women clearly has shown bone mineral density through strength training.
  • It has clearly shown that along with supplementation, strength training is the key to improving bone mineral density.
  • Orlando McMaster University found that a year-long strength-training program increased the spinal bone mass of post-menopausal women by 9%.
  • Only 15 - 30 minutes of strength training, two to three times per week, can provide you with the bone density you need to prevent osteoporosis.
  • It is never too late to begin a strength-training program to increase bone density.