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Healthy Bones

Martha Stewart Living Television

Do you take care of your bones? Well, you should! Martha's friend, June Lay, a health and fitness specialist, explained what bones are and why they are so important to a healthy and active life.

- Bone is living tissue made up of cells that we lose and gain each day just like the tissue and cells of our skin.

- During childhood, new bone growth outpaces loss, and we reach our peak bone mass between 20 and 30 years old.

- The most talked about form of osteoporosis, type I, occurs in women when estrogen levels start to decline at menopause.

- Type II occurs in men and women alike later in life as a result of aging (70 years and older).

Excessive Bone Loss
- When there is excessive bones loss, fractures are likely, there is height loss, and, in extreme cases, a dowager's hump (an abnormal outward curvature of the upper back) forms.

- The most common fracture sites are the femur (hip), radial (forearm), and vertebrae (spine), with the hip being the most debilitating.

- Exercise helps our bones by placing stress on them which stimulates new cell growth, one component important to bone health.

- Exercise also stimulates the body to absorb more calcium in respond to the need for new cells.

- There are two types of exercise that bone responds to favorably. The first is gravitational or weight-bearing exercise, the second is high-intensity weight training.

- Some exercises that achieve a gravitational pull on our bodies are standing, walking, and jogging.

- For high-resistance exercises, work out with enough weight that allows you to perform only eight to 10 repetitions. Studies show that exercising three times per week is optimal.

- Before you begin any exercise regimen, consult your doctor.

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