As kids, we didn’t fear a broken bone. In fact, it might have meant a day off school, extra ice cream, and friends eager to sign our cast. As adults, our broken bones are more serious. Recovery can be slow. A hip fracture can jeopardize both your mobility and longevity. The good news is you can prevent bone loss, osteoporosis, and the likelihood of a broken bone.
Here’s Why. And, Here’s How!
Why exercise? Despite their appearance, your bones are living tissue. If you look at a picture of bones with osteoporosis, there are holes in the bones like a sponge. Our bodies are constantly breaking down old bone cells and creating new ones. As we age, the rate of breakdown can begin to outpace the rate of creation of new cells and this causes the density of our bones to decrease. This makes the bones weak, brittle, and porous. Just as with your heart or your muscles, your bones can be strengthened and fortified with exercise.
Some preventative measures that you can take whether you have weak bones or not:
- Eat foods high in vitamin D and calcium. Combining these two nutrients helps to rebuild bone mass. Calcium builds the bone while vitamin D helps the body to absorb calcium. Good foods that meet this list are dairy products, green leafy veggies, fatty fish, nuts, and cereals.
- Avoid foods high in sodium which blocks the absorption of calcium into the body.
- Get UV rays from the sun. This is the best source of vitamin D for the body. Fifteen minutes of sun exposure without sunscreen two or three times a week is all you need to get your necessary intake.
- Avoid high alcohol intake and don’t smoke. Both habits will greatly increase your risk of osteoporosis. Even secondhand smoke can contribute to bone loss.
- Get regular exercise, including weight-bearing exercise.
These tips can help you to prevent osteoporosis, but what if it’s too late? Is there any hope for recovery? Fortunately, modern medicine has taught us a lot about how to care for our bones and most people can effectively reverse their bone loss. When you have osteoporosis, it’s like a catch 22. You need to do strength training in order to strengthen your bones, but you already have weak bones which make this difficult to do. You can suffer from joint pain and muscle pain. The trick is to find a way to strengthen the bone without excessive exercise along with some positive daily habits. By incorporating EMS, or Electro Muscle Stimulation Training with your regular workout, EMS is helpful because it can magnify the amount of work your muscles do without causing too much impact on the bones themselves. Not only relieving pain but allowing the individual to complete more strength training volume resulting in greater improvement.
Recently, there have been numerous doctors using EMS treatments on their paraplegic or tetraplegic patients to help combat osteoporosis from developing due to their forced sedimentary lifestyle. Studies have shown that usage of EMS to improve bone density. One specific case found an 11-13% increase in bone density and a decrease rate of bone loss in the upper and lower leg bones, the tibia, and femur. The EMS treatments were done for a length of 6 months, 5 days a week.
With EMS delivering the added benefits of relief from joint and muscle pain, reduce muscle spasms, improve muscle tone, and increase strength there is really no real reason not to include EMS to your fitness routine. By increasing muscle strength, you also decrease your risk of falls that lead to fractures due to osteoporosis as well. Balance training and flexibility should be an integral part of your fitness regime. With your increased mobility, you will feel more confident in each movement you make, and your stronger muscles can help to stabilize each step you take. There is no doubt that exercising is the best way to reduce your chances of developing osteoporosis and improving your bone density if you already have it. However, EMS can help make that transition easier, speedier, and less painful. It’s always better to work smarter, not harder!