We typically think about the strength/density of bones when we think about old people. However, us women hit our peak (from a bone density perspective) in our late 20s and whilst bone remodelling is a lifelong process, we lose more than we build from around age 35. And when we reach peri-menopause (commonly around our late 40s / early 50s) that decline speeds up as our oestrogen levels fall. This matters because “approximately one in two women over the age of 50 will break a bone because of osteoporosis” according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation.
Whilst genetics absolutely influence our ultimate position, there’s lots that you can do to improve the situation by focusing on nutrition & movement.
- resistance training and weight bearing exercises (impact too if your pelvic floor is up to it) are great for increasing bone density and the earlier we start the better the end position. Also note that intensity is more important than duration when it comes to workouts – so focus on working harder rather than longer.
- what we eat can have a massive impact too so keep aiming for that balanced diet. Sufficient calcium and vitamin D are critical (particularly during pregnancy when baby is sharing your intake!) and ensuring that you’re eating sufficient protein (the body’s building blocks for repair) will help to maintain bone density.
- beware of smoking, excess sugar & diabetes, excess salt, chronic stress, lack of sleep and consuming too much alcohol because they all negatively impact on your bone health.
- And given what we said above about oestrogen, always be mindful of any hormones / contraception that you’re taking.
So yet another reason to keep on top of your movement and nutrition. And you know where to find me if you need any help!