Women and Boners—I mean, bones…
Did you know that half of women over 50 will break a bone because of osteoporosis?
That’s scary! My mom is over 50 doesn’t look a day over 30.
So why am I embarrassing my mother on the Internet? Because it is Women’s Health Month and National Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month. Seemed like a fitting way to celebrate.
Normal bones look like this:
Osteoporotic bones look like this:
According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, osteoporosis means “porous bone.”
For obvious reasons, osteoporotic bones are weaker and more prone to breakage. People with osteoporosis are most likely to break their hip, spine, or wrist. But who needs those bones, anyway.
80% of people with osteoporosis are women. I call that sexist.
Women usually have smaller, thinner bones than men. Also, estrogen protects bones in women. Around menopause, estrogen levels severely drop, and chances of developing osteoporosis rocket. Yet another reason to loathe look forward to that excruciating exciting life event.
Build bone density through ingesting calcium and vitamin D.
99% of calcium in the body is stored in bones and teeth, but our bodies do not produce any by itself. Lazy bodies. On top of that, we literally ooze calcium from every orifice: skin, nails, hair, sweat, urine, and feces. Yum! Low-fat dairy products and green vegetables like kale, collard greens, broccoli, okra, and dandelion greens supply calcium in our diets. So next time you crave calcium, wander into your yard and yank up a dandelion salad.
Sunlight provides the greatest source of vitamin D, the substance vital to absorbing calcium. Our bodies actually produce the vitamin directly from ultra-violet light. At least those skin-cancer spotted tanned beach babes won’t get osteoporosis if they drank skim milk. Some foods contain small amounts of vitamin D, and many dairy products are fortified with it.
Turns out, bones are a living tissue. Like muscle, they grow denser and stronger when worked. Who knew? Seriously, who knew this? For bones, working means absorbing impact. Exercises which toughen bones fall into two categories: weight bearing and muscle-strengthening.
Weight bearing exercises move against gravity while remaining upright. For us dummies intellectually challenged individuals, this includes dancing, hiking, climbing stairs, ellipticalling, walking, general upright flailing jogging, and similar activities.
Muscle-strengthening or resistance exercises suck move body weight or other resistance against gravity. They include lifting weights, resistance bands, weight machines, profuse whining from Kiya, and body weight exercises like push-ups or lunges.
Now I’m off to lower my risk for osteoporosis: a horrible pleasant, weight-bearing jog in the sunlight, followed by collapsing on the front lawn and gnawing on some weeds. You know, for the calcium.
What is your favorite osteoporosis-preventing activity? Surfing the internet? Inhaling cheese like it’s going out of style? Have thoughts on any other subject like the fact that I’ve been invited to guest blog on theindiechicks.com?!
Source: National Osteoporosis Foundation
Photo credit: NOF