• Jessica Gradel,DC,MS,L.Ac

Be Strong, Fight Osteoporosis

Updated: Jan 25, 2019

Find Out Why Weight-Bearing Activities Keep Bones Healthy and Strong

The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening exercises

A Tale of Two Cells; Osteoblast vs Osteoclast

Bone is built and maintained by two very important cells the Osteoblast that build bone and the Osteoclast that break bone down. Over the course of our life osteoblast and osteoclast work together to rid the body of damaged bone matrix and replace it with new bone matrix. This is part if normal cellular turnover. Normal cellular turnover is where the myth that you replace every cell in your body with in 7 years.


But normal cellular turnover can go a stray if environmental and genetic ques tigger the osteoclast to break down healthy bone matrix or reduce activity of osteoblast. Osteoporosis occurs when osteoclast thin out the bone matrix without osteoblast rebuilding the bone matrix removed. Osteoblast activity is stimulated and regulated by the body naturally through a complex balancing of hormones which are triggered into action by the physical demand we put on the body, as well as genetic ques.


Why some and not others: Risk Factors


When the body is not sensing a demand for stronger robust bones it will not invest the energy to build more bone causing the osteoblast to become less active. As aging continues to occur and the aging bone matrix needs to be removed by the osteoclast, and this is where osteoporosis starts, and can be accelerated by inactivity.


Our bones are more than structural, it is used by the body for storage of minerals. Minerals such as potassium, calcium , and magnesium are essential for our metabolism and neurologic health. Increased demand of these nutrients such as multiple pregnancies can put women at higher risk if they are not meeting their nutritional needs. If the body is not able to obtain the minerals needed through diet it will look inward, much like a starving body will start breaking down muscle it will also start to reabsorb bone. Another risk factor for osteoporosis is a history of eating disorders.


Preventions and Maintaining Bone Health


First and foremost eating a diet rich in minerals and nutrients will help maintain bone health. You don't have to eat dairy to have a diet rich in calcium. In fact some of the best foods for bone health are Vegetables. Dark leafy greens such as Spinach, Kale, Collard Greens, and fruits such as Strawberries are all great sources of calcium, magnesium, and potassium.


Because Osteoblast are triggered into action by stress to the bone specifically associated with weight bearing exercises. The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends the following exercises:

Low-impact weight-bearing exercises can also help keep bones strong and are a safe alternative if you cannot do high-impact exercises. Examples of low-impact weight-bearing exercises are:

  • Using elliptical training machines

  • Doing low-impact aerobics

  • Using stair-step machines

  • Fast walking on a treadmill or outside

High-impact weight-bearing exercises help build bones and keep them strong. If you have broken a bone due to osteoporosis or are at risk of breaking a bone, you may need to avoid high-impact exercises. If you’re not sure, you should check with your healthcare provider.

Examples of high-impact weight-bearing exercises are:

  • Dancing

  • Doing high-impact aerobics

  • Hiking

  • Jogging/running

  • Jumping Rope

  • Stair climbing

  • Tennis

Muscle-Strengthening Exercises These exercises include activities where you move your body, a weight or some other resistance against gravity. They are also known as resistance exercises and include:

  • Lifting weights

  • Using elastic exercise bands

  • Using weight machines

  • Lifting your own body weight

  • Functional movements, such as standing and rising up on your toes