What is Bone Mineral Density and how does it cause Osteoporosis?
Bone Mineral Density (BMD) refers to the amount of bone mineral in bone tissue. When experiencing Osteoporosis or Osteopenia BMD can decrease, placing individuals at a higher risk of fractures or breaks in bone.
Osteoporosis is more common in post-menopausal women as their BMD levels continue to decline with age. BMD levels have shown to be lowest in the spine and the neck of the femur (thigh bone), and these are 2 of the sites tested when you have a bone mineral density scan. When you have a BMD scan, you will be provided with a T-score for each of the bone sites tested. This T score is compared to the T-score of a healthy 30 year old, and gives and indication of how high or low your bone density is.
The table below shows the T-scores and their classifications for normal bone density, osteopenia, and osteoporosis.
How can I improve my bone mineral density?
There are a few different methods in which your BMD can be increased;
How can exercise make my bones stronger?
Studies have shown that therapeutic based exercises that include resistance and load bearing movements are able to MAINTAIN OR IMPROVE BONE MINERAL DENSITY LEVELS in healthy individuals and those diagnosed with Osteoporosis.
These exercises have been reported to STIMULATE BONE GROWTH AND PRESERVE BONE MASS. These processes occur through a mechanical stimulus on the bone and both anti-gravity loading, and stress exerted on the muscles that surround it. Quite simply, this means that movements involving repetitive and loaded (heavy) exercises cause the working muscles involved to pull on the bones they are attached to, which in turn stimulates bone growth. When this is completed on a regular basis over a long period of time it can have a significant effect on BMD levels.
What type of exercise is best?
There has been a large amount of research conducted into which exercise type provides the best results when trying to increase bone mineral density. The Onero program has collated and completed multiple studies to determine which exercise type reigns supreme and designed a program to specifically include these exercises.
They research found that IMPACT AND RESISTANCE-BASED TRAINING THAT IS BOTH SUPERVISED AND TARGETED provides the highest improvement in BMD. The Onero program ongoing data has shown that 86% of participant’s had an increase in lumbar spine (LS) BMD, whilst 69% had an improvement in femur BMD. Results have also shown a significant improvement in participant’s posture and a decrease in falls risk, preventing potential fractures.
Overall, high intensity loading and impact-based exercise undertaken in a safe and supervised setting are the most optimal types of exercise to increase BMD.
These exercises are an example, however all exercises are safely prescribed for the individual at the entry level appropriate for their health, conditions, fitness and confidence.
Who can help me increase my Bone Mineral Density safely?
Accredited Exercise Physiologists are the most appropriate people to assist you in increasing your BMD. The great news is that Optimum Exercise Physiology, runs a Strong Bones specific class twice a week that has TAILORED AND SPECIFIC EXERCISE PROGRAMS THAT ARE SUITABLE TO YOUR CURRENT NEEDS AND GOALS.
Can't make a class, that's fine too. We can develop a program for you to undertake independently at the gym or for home.
Would you like more information ...?
If you would like more information about how exercise can help improve your bone mineral density and reduce the risk of developing or progressing Osteoporosis/ Osteopenia further, please get in touch on 8873 0628 or, email@example.com.
By, Aleisha Michael,
Accredited Exercise Physiologist.