Osteoporosis - Know your bones

Apr 23, 2021

Your skeleton has 206 bones, itis a living tissue which is completely replaced every 8-10 years. In NZ there are 3000 + fractures each year and over 50% are people who have previously broken a bone.

In the first 3 decades of life, bone formation exceeds bone resorption (Modelling) A lack of bone health in those under 25 years (approx. peak bone mass) may decrease bone health by 13 years.

In the next 2 decades, bone is maintained and formation = resorption (Remodelling)

From 50+ years resorption exceeds formation


What can be done to ensure good bone health?

There are risk factors you cannot control such as your age and who your parents are, however there are lifestyle modifications that can preserve bone health.

  • Know your Bones,
  • Know your own risk factors for osteoporosis.
  • Have a bone health assessment -  if you have risk factors or if you have broken a bone as a result of a fall.
  • Prevent falls – Regularly work on improving yourStrength & Balance-Perform regular weight bearing exercise, ideally 30 mins of weight bearing physical activity every day
  • Maintain a healthy weight, being underweight can increase fracture risk significantly
  • Eat a balanced and nutritious diet with adequate calcium intake
  • Avoid negative lifestyle factors, do not smoke, avoid excess alcohol
  • Have adequate sun exposure safely, sunlight is the best course of Vitamin D
  • Minimise impact, hip protectors and soft floor in high risk people 

Exercises you can do to keep your bones strong include:

  • Being physically active is vital to keep muscles and bones strongExercises help maintain bone density and strengthenleg muscles to maintain balance and prevent falls
  • The most effective type of exercise to do to maintain bone density are  weight-bearing exercises where muscles move against gravity
  • 30 mins of weight bearing physical activity is recommended each day – this can be done in smaller chunks of time eg 3 lots of 10 mins.  
  • These can be weight bearing exercises where you are on your feet and bear your own weight eg brisk walking, jogging, dancing etc or resistance strength training which becomes more challenging over time eg lifting weights or using gym equipment.

Note -Swimming and cycling are both great forms of exercises and good for muscle strength however they are not considered weight bearing.

If you have low bone desnity then it may be advised to avoid high intensity, jerky exercises or any movement that includes forward flexion eg toe reaches or crunches as this can increase the risk of spinal fracture


Key Messages for people aged over 65 years

  • This is the time for sustaining mobility and independence
  • Preventing muscle wasting is important as it lowers the risk of falls and the resulting injuries including fragility fractures.
  • Particpate in local Community Strength & Balance classes or do your own programme of exercises at home.  
  • It is essential that osteoporosis  is diagnosed and treated to prevent you becoming one of the 3000 + people in NZ each year who suffer a devasting hip fracture.
  • Hip fractures can cause premature death, loss of function and independence.

Encourage friends/family/work colleagues to visit the website and complete the Know Your Bones Quiz. Lets start the conversation in whanau. Ask your parents or grandparents if they have osteoporosis. If you are older with osteoporosis, let you family know and get them to do the quiz to get their own risk factors.

If there is osteoporosis in your family, you may be more at risk – so do what you can now to improve your future bone health.

Visit http://www.bones.org.nz/ for more information or to complete the quiz

If you are looking for a community strength and balance class or are interested in more individual support to improve your strength & balance discuss this with your GP or contact Hilary at Sport Taranaki on 021480180 or http://www.sporttaranaki.org.nz/health/strength-and-balance/ 







Intro Byline: An update from Taranaki's Community Strength and Balance Coordinator