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Strengthen Muscles and Bones to Avoid Fractures

By Sandy Schroeder

Most of us do some strength training to tone our muscles, but there is more to the story. When we use free weights, resistance bands or weight machines to maintain strong muscles, we are also building strong bones to avoid fractures.

After 40, the body loses bone strength at a rate of one percent per year. As bone strength weakens, fractures from falls become more likely. No one thinks they will have a fracture until a slip on the stairs or a slick sidewalk catches them by surprise.

Osteoporosis causes more than two million fractures each year. Hip fractures are the most devastating. Six out of 10 people who break a hip never fully regain independence again.

If  someone in your family is at risk for osteoporosis, schedule a checkup with their doctor and work on strengthening their bones.

Researchers say exercise that stresses bones can help create bone-forming cells. Strength training and walking or running can help to make bones denser. Resistance workouts help too and boost confidence with better balance.

WebMD suggests doing weight-bearing workouts that stress bones and muscles more than your everyday life. Talk to your doctor and make sure the workouts that you are doing are safe for you. Then consider these options.

Start moving with tai chi - One study found tai chi slowed bone loss in postmenopausal women who did 45 minutes of tai chi daily, five days a week. They slowed their bone loss down three times more than the control group.

Yoga works everywhere - Researchers found yoga builds bone health in the spine, wrists and hips. Warrior I and II work the bones of the hips and legs and downward dog works the wrists, arms and shoulders. Yoga also improves balance and awareness to prevent falls.

Brisk walking scores too - A women's study found walking four hours a week lowered their risk of hip fractures by 41 percent.

More Bone Strengthening Tips

Mayo Clinic also advises people with osteoporosis to watch for these things.

Up the calcium - Women over 50 and men over 70 need 1,200 milligrams of calcium daily.

Check Vitamin D too - Shoot for 600 to 800 international units of Vitamin D daily.

Avoid smoking - If you smoke, stop. Smoking increases bone loss.

Limit alcohol - More than a drink a day for women and two drinks for men over 65 speeds bone lost.

Protein helps - Build your bones with eggs, lentils, lean beef, dairy, lean poultry, shrimp and soy.

Stay trim - Make sure your weight is right for your height. Being underweight, or overweight increases the risk of fractures, especially arms and wrists.

Wherever you are with bone strength, it never hurts to be a little stronger.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Flower Mound, Tex.

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