Why Weight Bearing Exercise is Crucial, During and After the Menopause
What is weight bearing exercise?
Quite simply, it means that you support the weight of your whole body as you exercise. This creates a tension between muscle and bone, which makes your skeleton grow stronger.
These exercises can be aerobic, like running and jogging, or anaerobic, like weight lifting, so there are many ways to include them in your exercise routine.And it's really important that you DO include it, because regular weight bearing exercise can make all the difference to your longterm risk of fracturing a bone because of the dreaded osteoporosis.
Why is weight bearing exercise so important in menopause?
Your body starts losing bone in your early thirties, and the process goes on, getting faster as your estrogen levels drop during and after the menopause.You've undoubtedly seen frail old women hobbling around, or maybe someone you know suffers from osteoporosis. In this very common disease, the bones gradually become like honeycomb instead of being strong and solid.
That means that they're all too easily fractured. And a fractured wrist or hip in later life can have serious consequences, leaving the victim less dexterous or mobile than before, which could spell the end of being able to live independently. Hip fracture in old people can even lead ultimately to death.
Osteoporosis disease affects 10 million women in the United States, while in the United Kingdom it's thought that one woman in two aged 50+ will eventually break a bone - and suffer the consequences. Weight bearing exercise strengthens bones, and while it can't put back bone that you've already lost, it can slow down the whole process.
How to include weight bearing exercise
It's simple! Just add some of these to your must-do list of activities:
You can even include a bit of jumping up and down on the spot - something you can do whenever you have a few spare moments. It's the impact that works on the bones, but you need to do this regularly and consistently to make a difference.
Remember to wear walking shoes for women, exercise shoes or trainers that give your ankles and feet adequate support when you're active.
And note that you should check with your physician before embarking on any new exercise plan. If you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis, take medical advice before adding new exercises to your routine.
Weight bearing exercise is essential for women from the thirties onwards, so don't delay - get started today! Your bones will thank you.
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Weight bearing facts
Bear in mind that cycling and swimming, although great ways to get active, are not weight bearing exercises.
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