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How's Your Skeleton?

With Halloween all but done for this year, my thoughts turn to skeletons, the type that you should be kind to, your own bones! The adult human skeleton has 206 bones that give our body its shape and allows movement. It also provides protection for our organs as well as making blood cells and storing minerals and fat.

Our bones continuously renew, taking just 2 years during childhood and around 7 years for an adult. Osteoporosis is the name given when your bones become weak and brittle. Your bone density is measured by assessing how much bone tissue you have and how strong your bones are. This procedure is known as a DEXA scan. After about 35 years of age, the amount of new bone being made reduces, resulting in weaker bones. This particularly affects the wrists, pelvis and spine. By age 50, half of all women and 12% of men will experience an osteoporotic fracture perhaps unknowingly. This can lead to long-term pain, deformity, disability and death.

What causes Osteoporosis? Losing bone density is a normal part of ageing, however some people lose it much faster than others. Many factors can also increase the risk of developing osteoporosis, including:

  • Gender - women are much more likely to be diagnosed than men as they lose density rapidly the first few years after the menopause.

  • a family history of Osteoporosis

  • long-term use of certain medicines

  • having a low Body Mass Index (BMI)

  • not exercising regularly

How can we help you at SimplyFit Berkshire? Exercise is a crucial part of improving your bone health and in every single class we give you weight-bearing exercises and low-impact moves that involve you being on your feet working against gravity by training with weights or using your own body weight to strengthen your bones in a safe, effective way. This could be in the form of low-impact aerobics, body-weight exercises such as half-planks and press-ups, Mat Pilates (great for focusing on core control, posture and decompressing your spine), or using weights and other resistance equipment in Lift Lean. We also incorporate balance work into lots of our classes which helps strengthen muscles and reduce the risk of falling and fracturing your bones. Don’t be scared of your skeleton, bone health can be greatly improved and bone loss can be slowed with a healthy balanced diet (including foods rich in calcium and vitamin D), daily exercise such as walking and weight bearing exercise (in addition to medication), and making lifestyle changes (such as giving up alcohol and reducing your alcohol consumption). Ask Alex or myself for more information, and visit the NHS Website for further reading.

Check out our timetable and book on to a class to start building your bone density today!

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