About Bone Health and Osteoporosis
Bones become strong due to the ingestion of calcium rich foods, Vitamin D, and exercise done in weight bearing conditions. Bones are their densest in girls by age 16 and in boys by age 20. We start to show bone loss as early as our mid-30’s. This is the case in both men and women. Bone loss becomes greater in women as they approach menopause. As bone loss continues, it is categorized as osteopenia and finally osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is a condition that causes bones to lose density and become thin and porous, decreasing their strength and increasing the risk of a fracture. Approximately 1 in 4 women over 50 and 1 in 8 men over 50 have osteoporosis. This is called a silent disease as bone loss may not be picked up until there has been a fracture. Since the bone loss starts in our mid-30’s, osteoporosis is not just a disease of the elderly.
The Bonefit program has been developed by Osteoporosis Canada and includes the 4 types of exercises that are needed to improve or delay the progression of the bone loss. The 4 types of exercises include ones that help to strengthen muscles, improve posture and core stability, and improve balance. Weight bearing exercises are used to put force through the bone to make it stronger. We know that astronauts lose bone while up in space. Gravity is an important force in keeping bones strong. Exercises done in an upright posture, like standing, have more of gravity working on the bones.
The Tai Chi for Osteoporosis form has been developed by Dr. Paul Lam, a team of health professionals and Tai Chi instructors to address the issues of bone loss. The exercises help to strengthen muscles, improve posture and core stability, improve balance, and are all weight bearing. Both of these programs, Bonefit and Tai Chi for Osteoporosis, have been shown to reduce the progression of bone loss. Tai Chi for Osteoporosis, according to the research, can reduce the progression up to 3 X’s the normal loss.
- Click here for a video lecture discussing the benefits of Tai Chi for osteoporosis
(The first lecture of three on the video)