When it comes to the bones – people can go into panic mode, since bones are broken easily by way of accidents, disease, ill-health, and etc.  However, anyone who wants to have a ‘fit body’, can help it to be ‘fit’ by BUILDING BETTER BONES. 

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Being a dancer, I learned early, that the bones are important to the support of the body. I also learned that the bones of the foot are the last bones to ossify (harden). Total ossification occurs between the age of 19 – 22 depending on the person. Peak bone strength is reached by the age of 30. This makes it vital, that when you are young, you engage in dynamic impact movement. Sherri Betz, chair of the American Physical Therapy Association bone health group and a doctor of physical therapy noted that “engaging in sports during our youthful developing years helps build strong, wide and dense bones that will carry us well into old age.”

Today, most parents encourage their children, male and female, to be involved in sports. Dance is also considered a sport by the sport standards of today. This is all well and good, but my personal experience tells me that it is well and good as long as the sport or dance is learned by way of correct teaching methods by the teacher or coach. Luckily, as a young dancer, I had a great teacher who knew these facts. She was adamant that we performed our dance steps and exercises in the correct way and explained the why and the wherefore for doing so. I implemented this into my teaching as well. I had parents tell me that they were bringing their child to me for dance instruction at the advice of their doctor because he/she knew I would not lead them astray with incorrect teaching methods, and, as well, that they trusted me to help a child that had a particular physical issue and correct that issue when it had to do with the legs and the feet. I felt this to be a high compliment – and took care of my students with love in my heart for each individual child’s needs.

While encouraging your children, teenagers and young adults to participate in sports and exercise, encourage them to be wise and cautious in what exercise they choose and how they do it. Injuries do occur – especially in contact sports. When young, you heal quickly, and think nothing of the injury, but it always comes back to bite you in your senior years, starting as early as age 40, when all of a sudden, you experience unaccounted for pain, osteoporosis, arthritis, limited mobility throughout the whole body, fatigue, fibromyalgia, and etc.

As folks get older, many of them say “I am too old to change anything now.” That is not true. According to Steven A. Hawkins Ph.d., a professor of exercise science at the California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, “Adulthood  is a perfectly good time to start building and improving bone fitness and health.” Larry Tucker, Ph.d., professor of exercise sciences at the Brigham Young University, in Provo, Utah, tells us the “Bone doesn’t grow, per se, but like muscle, it does get denser and stronger according to the stresses and strains put on it.”

My research consensus is that the key to stimulate bone growth is to put a heavy load on the bones. This is usually done by the way of exercise. There are many suggestions for ways to do this. You will see many of them on the TV or in Gyms etc. They range from standing, to sitting, to full workout regiments. Standing and strengthening exercises targeting the leg and hip bones are recommended, because the bones are most likely to benefit from these types of exercise movements. It is recommended that you “don’t do the same things over and over at the same time,”because this action can actually diminish the effects of the exercise.” Exercises recommended the most are exercises involving “those that require changing directions, bouncing and leaping – from basketball to lively dancing, yoga, hopping, Tai Chi – with the recommendation that “they be done in the proper way.” Take reasonable rests from the exercise program. I recommend – if you are in your senior years, that you choose, or map out a routine for yourself, that takes no longer than 30 minutes each day.

This information should help you to decide what you need for yourself. If in doubt, consult your family physician first. Take it easy, don’t start heavy-duty putting the burden of stress on yourself. Sports that help as you grow into your senior years, can be golf, bowling, shuffle board, walking, bicycling, swimming, etc. If you insist on aerobics, make it LOW IMPACT. High impact aerobics, Zumba, small trampoline, and some of the new short-lived methods of exercise, can open the door to fatigue and injury. For me, I LOVE TAI CHI.

In addition to exercise, the bones need to be nourished. Without nourishment your bones experience constant tear down and can become more porous and brittle. It has been reported by the National Institute of Health that, “one out of every two women and one in every four men over 50 will have an osteoporosis-related fracture during their lifetime.” It has been shown that a healthy diet and long-term supplementation is effective in improving bone health and integrity.

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NOTE: None of the above can be accomplished without action. Steroids, pain killers, and prescription medications should never be used to coerce you into thinking that all is well in Healthville, Strengthville and Wellville. They temporarily relieve the pain, but DO NOT act on the cause of the pain.


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