Bone-loading exercise and a balanced diet are essential for preventing osteoporosis. To take care of your bones now so they stay strong enough to carry you through a lifetime of health and activity, the American Council on Exercise (ACE),
Squat: Hold light-weight dumbbells in each hand with arms straight and hanging down alongside the body. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and knees and feet facing forward. Engage the abdominals and flex the hips and knees to a place where the thighs are approaching a position parallel with the floor. Only go as low as you feel pain-free and stable. Keep the chest and shoulders in an upright position throughout the movement and feel the body weight centered toward the middle of the feet and heels. Perform one to three sets of eight to 12 repetitions. Note: For many beginners body-weight squats may represent a proper starting intensity.
Side Lunges: Stand with your feet together and hands by your sides or in front of your chest. Take one large step to the right side, allowing your body weight to shift to the right foot as it makes contact with the floor. The left knee should remain straight as the right leg accepts a majority of the weight. Push off of the floor with the right foot and return to the starting position. Repeat movement on the left side. Bending the knee 90 degrees is ideal, but only go to as low as you feel pain-free and stable. Throughout the movement, be sure to maintain the chest and shoulders in an upright position. This movement should be quicker than the regular squat because it requires the use of muscular power to push off the floor and return to starting position. Perform one to three sets of eight to 12 repetitions.
Seated Row: Using exercise tubing, flex at the hips and shoulders (not the spine) to grasp the handles and sit upright on a bench or the floor with the elbows extended. Slowly pull the elbows behind the back and maintain an upright posture without allowing the hips to rotate. Pause, and focus on squeezing the shoulder blades toward each other before returning the arms to the starting position. Perform one to three sets of eight to 12 repetitions.
"Bone-loading exercises and eating a high-calcium, high-fiber, low-fat diet is essential for building stronger bones," said Dr. Cedric Bryant, Ph.D., F.A.C.S.M., chief science officer for the American Council on Exercise. "Preventative measures should start during the early teen years. Contrary to popular belief, osteoporosis is not an old woman's disease. In reality, it is a disease process that begins relatively early in life but does not manifest itself until later in life. A certified fitness professional can design safe and effective exercise programs to help women of all ages develop and maintain stronger, healthier bones."
Review ACE's Fit Fact(TM) "Preventing Osteoporosis Now" to learn more about avoiding bone loss at any age www.acefitness.org/fitfacts/fitfacts_display.cfm?itemid=39.
The American Council on Exercise (ACE),