Osteoporosis And A Walking Program
Osteoporosis, or decreased bone density, affects more than 25 million Americans, causing bones to become fragile, brittle and likely to break. This disease is particularly common in post menopausal women, with half of all women suffering an osteoporosis fracture during their lives.
Osteoporosis can cause pain and deformity and is particularly dangerous because the resulting loss of mobility can lead to early death. However, osteoporosis can be easily prevented and treated.
Prevention should be a life long process of maximizing bone density when you are young and maintaining bone density as you get older. This can be achieved through proper diet and weight bearing exercise, as well as nutritional or hormone supplements, if needed.
Walking is an excellent choice of exercise for most people because it is a weight-bearing activity, has a low start up cost, is safe and easy, and can be done in many different settings. Just 10 minutes of warm-up and stretching followed by 30 minutes of walking or jogging every other day can help prevent osteoporosis.
Benefits of a Walking Program
- increased bone density, reducing the risk of osteoporosis
- better coordination
- improved mobility
- increased muscle strength
- better agility
- improved endurance
You are at greater risk of osteoporosis if you:
- have a family history of osteoporosis have a small boned build
- lack adequate calcium in your diet don’t exercise regularly
- smoke are post menopausal
- are a moderate to heavy consumer of alcoholic drinks are taking steroid, thyroid or antiseizure medicines
- are Caucasian or Asian are anorexic or bulimic
When beginning a walking program:
- It is important to remember to begin slowly and progress to longer, faster walks gradually over a couple of weeks. Starting too quickly can result in muskuloskeletal injuries.
- Wear well-fitted shoes with cushioned insoles.
- Wear socks of a cotton/polyester blend to provide cushioning and wick moisture away.
- Warm up and stretch before beginning your walk.
- Exercise at a brisk pace within your target heart rate.
- Cool down at the end of your walk by slowing your pace rather than ending abruptly.
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