The most well-known ambassador for strong healthy bones and someone who is putting a face to osteoporosis treatment in Australia is Michelle Bridges.
But back in November, Michelle Bridges shared their 5 rules for managing osteoporosis. And these rules are a must-read for those with osteoporosis or osteopenia, who have a family history of easily broken bones and for those who want to live a long, healthy and active life.
If you haven’t heard this yet, get ready—because this is one of those rare gems on the Internet.
Here’s the breakdown:
Strength training for healthy bones
Michelle reminds us that what people care about isn’t just exercising for exercise’s sake.
It’s building strong healthy bones. Because when you do resistance training you grow or maintain your bone strength so you are less likely to get a painful fracture if you fall.
We all know these things “in theory,” we just forget them at the moment and it’s so much easier to just go for a walk for your exercise than to do the strength training your bones need.
You have to actively remind yourself what matters most.
Calcium is vital
Most people who try to maintain healthy bones think they have to drink litres and litres of milk.
When actually, it’s not the milk, it’s the calcium within the milk. But there are plenty of other great sources of calcium outside of dairy milk. For starters, your soy and nut milk are fortified with calcium. You can also get plenty when you eat tinned sardines or salmon with bones in them, or, lots of green leafy vegetables like spinach.
So, don’t fall into the trap most people do.
Drink milk if you love it, but enjoy plenty of calcium-rich food and beverages in your balanced diet.
It takes people a long time to learn this one.
Successfully avoiding fractures is not just about strong bones. Yes, you need strong bones but you also need to reduce the chance you’re going to fall over and break them. And that is where balance training comes in.
Ensuring your exercise program has balance components to keep you on your feet and not falling and breaking bones is a vital part of living a long and healthy life.
Vitamin D for healthy bones
This one is my favourite because it shocked me the most.
When you live in the southern states of Australia as we do here in Melbourne, and particularly in the winter time, there’s not enough solar power for you to get your vitamin D from the sun.
So Michelle Bridges and the Director of Osteoporosis Australia, Professor Peter Ebeling recommend vitamin D supplementation in at least the winter months here in Melbourne.
Know your bone health
This is true for most things in life.
What gets measured, gets managed. And with osteoporosis and bone health you need to start managing it well before there are any symptoms like easily fractured bones.
To do this, Osteoporosis Australia and Michelle are encouraging you to complete the free online screening tool at knowyourbones.org.au where you can complete a short questionnaire that will give you an idea of what your risk level is for developing osteoporosis.
If you’re at risk, the tool provides advice on how to have a conversation with your doctor about getting a bone density scan and what you can do for your bones. (hint: it’s what Michelle has advised you to do above)
Before you go…
You can learn about the ins and outs of managing osteoporosis or osteopenia, or if you’re local to the Pascoe Vale area we have something even better for you. The Strong To The Bone program is where you can train with an exercise physiologist as well as a small group of new friends who are also on their journey to strong healthy bones.
If you’d like to watch an interview with Michelle Bridges and Professor Peter Ebeling discussing strong healthy bones check this one out.
About the Author
Pascoe Vale Exercise Physiologist Mike Fitzsimon is passionate about bone health. He’s spent years supporting and training both men and women who’ve struggled and thrived managing their osteoporosis. He’s also the creator of the Strong To The Bone program focussed on building better bone health.