For Strong Bones, Exercise More Important Than Calcium Supplements
A recent study from researchers at the University of Melbourne found that, when it comes to increasing bone density, ingesting calcium and Vitamin D isn’t enough: exercise may be the deciding factor in protecting your bones from osteoporosis and fracture.
Osteoporosis affects 40 million Americans, and that number increases each year. It’s most common among post-menopausal women, but around 6 percent of men are also affected.
For people at risk for bone density problems, doctors have traditionally recommended not smoking, reducing alcohol and caffeine consumption, and taking supplements of calcium and Vitamin D. But, in the wake of this new research, it may be worth it to take a look at your exercise routine, too.
The study in question selected men from ages 59 to 70 and randomly assigned them one of four 18-month programs: exercising, drinking milk fortified with Vitamin D and calcium, doing both of these or doing neither. After a year and a half, it was found that the men who exercised had better bone density than those who were only drank milk.
In fact, the study showed that the supplements had no added benefit, suggested that the men already had enough calcium and Vitamin D in their diets to improve their bone strength through exercise alone.
The best exercise programs for bone health involve weight-bearing activities like weight-lifting or running. But yoga can be a good practice for people who want to maintain or increase their bone density, too. Try asking at hospitals, community centers and yoga studios for information on classes or instructors specially tailored to your needs and abilities.