Exercise | Menopause | Osteoporosis | Painful Joints

What is the right exercise for your bones?

I have lots of women contact me on how to get started and what exactly they should be doing. So here is the first in a series of blogs on what exactly you should be doing that is safe, effective but more importantly, to keep you fabulous!
Please, before you undertake any new exercise programme do have a visit with your GP to get the green light.
Every woman for her health should be doing some bone loading, cardio and stretching exercise.
Today I am going to concentrate on bone loading as it is over looked by women and I cannot express enough how important our bone health is. In the following weeks I will talk about cardio and stretching.
Bone health
I don’t want to shock you ladies but I am so passionate about this I am going to give you some hard facts about the ageing process.
Before you read the next paragraphs on what happens to our bones, I want you to think that my advice on how to strengthen bones will also help banish belly fat! As a healthier, stronger muscle burns fat at rest.
Banish belly fat!…What every women wants to hear!
If you carry out toning and strength work not only are you keeping your bones healthy but it will be easier to keep the belly fat away, be slimmer and you will feel just fantastic!…Strong body strong mind and all of that!
Osteoporosis is the silent killer, after 30 years of age our bone density hits a decline. This decline is so great that it is frightening, so please, take my advice. When we hit menopause that decline speeds up, so therefore doing weight bearing/bone loading exercise is more important than ever before.
When we are young are bones are very dense so any hit we take through impact work, jumping or falling we are at low risk. Image honeycomb, when we are young the holes are very small so therefore making the bone stronger as we age because of the hormones decline, these holes become bigger, so therefore higher risk of fracture.
The major sites of Osteoporosis are hips, wrist and spine. Hip fractures in an older people can be extremely detrimental for that individual, usually a women will not know she has weak bones until she has a fall or fracture.
Dowagers humps/Kyphosis – This is where the upper spine takes on a curve. It means the vertebrae have weakened and collapsed in on themselves.
The lower spine is also affected, having Osteoporosis in these sites can cause a lot of pain. Specific exercise (see seated back extension below) can help alleviate the pain by making the muscles stronger therefore supporting the structure and taking pressure off the nerves which cause the pain, such as pain radiating down the leg – commonly known as sciatic pain. There can be other reasons for sciatic pain, if you are in doubt see a health professional for proper diagnosis.
During menopause when our Oestrogen hits a decline the collagen in our joints is also decreased this leads to pain in knees, hips and lower spine. These pains are sometimes overlooked by GP’s and put down to wear and tear, when in fact it is due to a decrease in Oestrogen and collagen due to the Menopause.
However strength training and stretching exercises can help.
What is Bone Loading?
Bone loading means; putting stress through your bones by an external force.
This can be your own body weight with exercises such as press ups or using external weights, such as fixed resistance machines in the gym, exercise bands, or free weights – these can be hand held weights or just water bottles!
If you do have Osteoporosis then some forms of exercise can be harmful, such as running, jumping or other impact work. Also you need to be careful with certain spine exercises; such as ab curls and back extensions as if you have osteoporosis in the spine this can aggravate the condition. So you must keep your spine straight when performing exercises. A lot can still be done, so don’t be put off.
Any muscle that you work please make sure you stretch it out after each session.
Another great way to help with painful joints, muscles and Osteoporosis is to start HRT (hormone replacement therapy) HRT has had some bad press in the past, newer research shows that it is now safe for a majority of women, new NICE guidelines are out to show this.
During Menopause we are at higher risk of heart disease and stroke, HRT lowers this risk.
Dr Louise Newson, the Menopause Doctor shares some information on HRT on her informative website https://menopausedoctor.co.uk/news/myths-about-hrt/
Wrists; Press ups and or triceps dips (see exercise page)
Lower Spine; Seated back extension (see Photo below) you can do a back extension either on the chair or on a swiss ball. If you have osteoporosis then do not do the old fashioned type on the floor; “back raises” this will be contra-indicated.

This can be done every other day along with your press ups and tricep dips.

There many exercises that are great for the bones such as running, tennis, uphill walking, dancing……….lots so just start moving and you will feel better!
Any questions please dont hesitate to email me on hello@menoandme.com