We are coming up to a busy time of year, particularly for working mums. Sorry guys, I am not deliberately being awkward here but I know from my own experience and from many of my clients that working mums have a lot on their shoulders.
Sometimes we put far too much pressure on ourselves and a guy would approach things very differently and maybe some stuff just wouldn’t get done- is that the end of the world? No of course not.
But all the running around trying to wear so many hats leaves us stressed to the eyeballs and vulnerable to poor decision making, which has a huge knock on effect on our health and well being and putting us at the back of the queue when really we should be at the front.
It’s a question that should concern all women, men too, as we are all at risk of this condition. Our bones like many other tissues in the body are constantly changing as we grow, mature and age. They go through remodelling, some bits of bone breaks down (osteoclasts) or resorb, other bits form new bone (osteoblasts).
In our 50s (or earlier if you have an early menopause or are low in testosterone for men) the rate of new bone being made slows right down and more is resorbed than is made - this creates an imbalance.
Porous bone pretty much describes osteoporosis, because that lovely dense bone you had when growing up is no longer so dense and your risk of fractures after even a slight fall is increased.
“A healthy, balanced diet combined with regular exercise and smart lifestyle choices—such as not smoking and [practicing] moderate alcohol intake—helps set the foundation for strong bones as you age,” says Judy Stenmark, CEO of the International Osteoporosis Foundation. “For those at high risk of fracture due to osteoporosis, a bone-healthy diet also supports falls prevention and enhances the benefits of therapy.
Stenmark adds that calcium should come primarily through food sources. “Supplements may be beneficial if adequate calcium intake cannot be met through the diet, especially where certain medical conditions exist,” she points out. “Anyone with concerns should speak to their doctor who can advise appropriately.”
BUT WHAT DOES THAT MEAN TO YOU?
I’ve realised how little many of us know about bone health and how it affects us. Especially now with an aging population and more sedentary lives. It’s really very important that we educate ourselves and particularly young women – although men can get osteoporosis too – about bone health.
HOW DOES BONE FORM?
Between 0 and 30 you are pretty much just making bone. It grows when you are little and in your twenties its gets more dense.
From 30 to 40 its fairly steady BUT from 35 years old onwards you start to slowly and naturally LOSE bone. The rate you lose it begins to increase.
50 onwards – this is where we can be more affected by bone loss. For women post menopause you can lose up to 20% of your bone density in the first 5 to 7 years following menopause because you have lost your oestrogen and that is a major help in keeping your bones strong.
At 65 we catch up with men, their testosterone levels drop more gradually, as by the age of 65 we are both about at the same place.
WHAT IS A BONE BANK?
In a nutshell what you do/did in your teens and twenties will denote how good your bone health is in later life. So squander it at your peril.
All that you eat, your activity levels, heavy drinking, smoking - all your lifestyle choices will have an impact, good or bad on your bones.
WHY? because a poor diet, fizzy drinks, and the like will take calcium from your bones to bring your body back to 'neutral'. Do that all the time and your bones will never reach their best peak bone density by the time you reach 30.
Sit on the sofa for hours, checking social media, watching box sets, avoiding exercise will also mean your bones will suffer - bones like a bit of stress from exercise, that's how they get stronger and more dense.
WHY DO WOMEN GET OSEOPOROSIS MORE SO THAN MEN?
Because we go through the menopause. Our sex hormones are pretty important when it comes to bone health.
Low oestrogen and low testosterone can affect our bone density.
Early menopause puts a woman at risk of osteoporosis because you are losing your oestrogen earlier than you should naturally and that's when HRT helps protect bone health.
By the age of 65 men and women are about even in terms of their bone density, however we have a greater loss following the menopause whereas men have a more gradual steady decline of testosterone.
BUT...there are things you can do to help stay stronger longer. Lots of things. It's not all doom and gloom here.
To reduce your risk of osteporosis, these are common sense tips you can follow.
Go to the National Osteoporosis Society website, they have fantastic resources pages and lots of excellent advice on diet, supplements, the best ones to take and how to take them. It's the very best source of advice and help dealing with this disease.
BONE DENSITY SCANS
Until now DEXA scans were pretty much the only way you could find out about your own bone density.
But now I have teamed up with Nick Birch our local spinal specialist and orthopaedic surgeon and we have set up Osteoscan UK Ltd and we are offering ultrasound bone density scanning at Nick's clinic in Moulton as well as various locations arount the country.
We have both seen an increasing number of people with osteoporosis but also seen many struggle to get a diagnosis. We wanted to do more to help but knew without the means to offer a diagnosis we would not be in a position to do so.
Then we found an amazing bit of new technology and off we went to Italy for training and we now are up and running offering a bone mineral density scanning service, backed up by a consultant surgeon’s expertise and an exercise specialist. It’s been pretty full on this summer.
HOW DOES KNOWING YOUR BONE DENSITY HELP?
Knowledge is power. When you know what your current T scores are, you can make decisions about your lifestyle and improve it, depending on what you find. If you want to know more about our scanning service, our website is www.mybonehealth.co.uk and our My Bone Health Facebook page reviews are below. If you want to book in for a scan call Kathy on 01604 215441. Scans cost £125 and take 30 minutes. Your results are given to you immediately followed up with a copy of your scans via email and advice given depending on your results to improve your bone health.
Would definitely recommend! The scan itself is painless and only takes a few minutes but the information given at the time and the instructions for future preservation will last a lifetime!
As a 44 year old female that has made movement, diet and exercise a priority over my lifetime so far, I decided I'd love to affirm that my hard work over the years had paid off, so booked in for the bone density test. The test was so quick and easy, the process slick and professional. The results, not quite what I was expecting!! How lucky I have been to discover I have Osteopenia. With no family history, no obvious risk factors, coupled with my lifestyle, I would never have thought I could be affected by low bone density at such a young age. It has made me reassess how I exercise, how much alcohol I consume and the balance of key nutrients in my diet. Without this test, I would have been oblivious and there is no doubt I would have ended up with Osteoporosis. I am now working to reverse the condition. A 30 minute appointment has changed my life. Thank you My Bone Health!
A firm believer in prevention is better than cure, I can highly recommend this scan. The procedure was painless and clearly explained. The advice was also sent to me by email so I could see the scan results and recommendations. I would have no hesitation in taking on board the recommendations and any future scan as required.
I am a fit active 71 year old have exercised in some respect all of my life. I now suffer mildly from Arthritis. My mother had Osteoporosis so thought it a very good idea to get checked. The whole experience was quick and pain free, the results were given straight away. I was pleased that I hadn't followed my Mother's diagnosis but do have Osteopenia it was also explained to me that I could do things to improve this even at my age. I will be booking in to have another scan yearly.Thanks for the chance to turn my bone health around.
A bone density scan was something I only thought would be available via my GP so was really pleased to be able to have one with My Bone Health. Fortunately I am ‘normal’ for my age but I now intend on making some lifestyle changes to stay this way for as long as possible. The scan was painless and unobtrusive. The results were fully explained to me and sent in an easy to understand email for future reference. Many thanks.
Having endured an 8 hour flight recently and trapped in a window seat with two total strangers next to me who had the temerity to fall asleep almost immediately - I can only sympathise for anyone who has back pain and has to travel.
It's great if you can sleep anywhere, but sadly for many of us our busy lives really disrupt our sleep and then add enforced sitting with limited room and add in a bad back and you have all the ingredients for a bad start to a holiday or business trip.
WHAT CAN YOU DO BEFORE YOU GET ON THE PLANE?
Depending on your problem, you can consider seeing your GP and making sure you have the right drugs to help you. Do make sure you tell them where you are going, in some countries some drugs we use here are illegal there. You don't want to arrive and be arrested. For example Tramadol is illegal in Egypt, so do make sure if you are taking any prescription drugs abroad that they are ok at your destination. With consultation with your GP who know's you and your back, you can potentially make the journey more comfortable. If you are taking over the counter drugs ensure you hve enough for your journey and a bit more in case of delays.
I don't know if you have a dog..but mine is causing havoc in my garden and is now on the naughty step.
I've got a south facing gravel garden and I've had to put all sorts of things in her way to stop her parting the gravel like the Red Sea in her efforts to get to the neighbour's cats. and trashing my new plantings along the way.
Much as I love being out there, albeit not as often as I should perhaps, spending any amount of time bending forward doesn't feel great on my body, even though I am in pretty good shape.
Likewise Pilates teachers everywhere dread a sunny bank holiday or Easter weekend because after sitting on their bums all winter, suddenly heading out to the garden for hours of digging, moving pots, throwing bags of compost around leaves our new clients complaining of aches and pains..REALLY!!!!! Why is this a surprise? It's not rocket science to work out that sitting down all winter followed by a day of hard work is going to result in some discomfort.
Using the winter to plan your garden fitness might be a better use of the dormant season in the garden.
So here's a tip for anyone who needs to move their spine, clearly if you have more than just a few aches and pains, you need to see someone to get checked out and don't do these movement suggestions.
We get a few enquiries asking if someone can join our classes during pregnancy. The short answer is usually no, which is such a shame. Why don't we allow a pregnant woman to join our classes?
Sadly that's pretty much what it comes down to. If you are pregnant most exercise instructors will not be able to teach you in the first trimester because our insurance providers will not cover us to teach you. The main reason for this is that one in four women will miscarry and the first trimester is when most miscarriages occur, it's such a shame because let's face it, if you have another one or two already at home, or still working and trying to keep the house clean, you will be doing WAY more than in an hours pilates class. Please read on for more useful help.
In your second trimester, you should be ok to exercise but how do we cope with you in a beginners class?
All our classes are geared to good spinal health, joint mobility and strengthening the core. All great stuff and perfect for someone pregnant, after all you are not ill.
Just one small problem, a growing bump and totally different requirements to everyone else in the class.
The logistics of trying to teach 11 people one exercise and all the reasoning behind it, then teach one person another exercise..with all the reasons behind it would be frustrating for everyone.
The best option would be a class with everyone at the same trimester.
If you can find a class where you can join others at the same stage, clearly that would be the perfect outcome.
What if you can't find a class?
It's been the biggest thing in exercise for nearly 20 years now. I know this because I was on the very first Body Control Pilates mat training course back in October 1997.
This was just at the time that a load of research was coming out of Queensland University about core control and the world was waking up to ‘switching on the core’. Suddenly every physio was on a course about the importance of the Transversus Abdominus and how vital it was to the causation of low back pain.
However, although your abs are important, they are not the whole story. You have spinal muscles that run parallel to the spine, your buttock muscles (Glutes or Gluteus) and your deep hip muscles – they all contribute to core strength and therefore..Core Control.
You cannot just strengthen in isolation, so a six pack might look great on the beach but ignore the rest as your peril because you will cause misalignment that will create it own problems.
Working out a balanced fitness routine will not only improve your core but allow you to improve so much more. It can even improve the stress on your neck and shoulders.
HOW TO AVOID BACK PAIN IN THE CAR
You might not yearn for one of these, but honestly the amount some people spend trying to get their back fixed could buy one! Well maybe enough to hire one.
YOUR CAR IS DESIGNED FOR THE AVERAGE PERSON
But we are not all average. You have to pay a fair bit of money for adjustable lumbar supports and I know that changes to design can mean a car that worked fantastically well for you in a previous model could be totally wrong in the updated version.
The Health Benefits of Pilates Infographic Contributed by Beyond Fit Pilates
Bad back? Stretch your hamstrings!
Karen Grinter, Mum, Pilates Teacher, Back Pain and Exercise Specialist, Business Owner and Millie's Owner!