Bone Density

Q: I HAVE OSTEOPENIA. WHICH FOODS CONTAIN THE MOST CALCIUM AND VITAMIN D?

I brought this question to Lisa Jubilee, Certified Dietician and Nutritionist at Living Proof NYC. Here’s what she had to say:
“Most people need 1,000 to 1,200 mg of calcium per day. However, if you have Osteopenia, your goal should be 1,500 mg of calcium from both food and supplements combined. Here is a list of 14 calcium rich foods. They are listed in order of greatest to least amount of calcium:
Hijiki(black seaweed), collard greens (cooked), yogurt, chedder cheese, sardines, milk, fortified soy milk, tofu, turnip greens cooked, kale cooked, canned salmon, 1% cottage cheese, broccoli cooked and almonds.
There are not many dietary sources of Vitamin D. Your best source is the sun. Although too much sun exposure is harmful to us in many ways, 15-20 minutes of direct sunlight per day is all it takes. Since many of us don’t get that, a daily supplement of 1,000 i.u. of D3 is recommended for most. Dietary sources of Vitamin D are: tuna, salmon, mackerel, sardines, cob liver oil and egg yolks.”
To set up an appointment with Lisa, you can email her at: lisa@livingproofnyc.com

Q: WHICH PARTS OF THE BODY ARE IMPORTANT TO WORK ON IF YOU HAVE OSTEOPENIA?

Your osteopenia workout can be a full body workout. However, when designing a workout program I always find it helpful to think of goals. With a diagnosis of osteopenia, your goal should be to maintain your bone density (if you are over the age of 30 it can usually only be maintained, it can no longer be increased), prevent falling and maintain/improve posture.

Bone forms in response to stress. This is why you may have heard that it is important for your bones that you do \”weight bearing exercise.\” This is any form of exercise which forces muscles to work against gravity. In Pilates there are hundreds of exercises which involve moving muscles against gravity. Some of my favorites are the side lying leg series, swan prepartion and modified bridges.

In order to prevent falling, it is important to work on balance. Both strength and flexability are factors that influence balance. Stretching the sides of body are important as well as the front and back of the legs and hips. There are many balance exercises and they should be chosen according to ability. If possible, your balance exercises should include ones that incorporate your abdominals, glutes. legs, ankles and wrists.

Lastly, POSTURE. Good posture keeps the back muscles and abdominal muscles toned. It also reduces stress on the spine. The chest expansion exercise and rowing III and IV are excellent posture exercises.

Q: RECENTLY MY DOCTOR DIAGNOSED ME WITH OSTEOPENIA. IS PILATES A SAFE FORM OF EXERCISE FOR SOMEONE WITH MY DIAGNOSIS?

With a diagnosis of osteopenia there are three important goals to work on in whatever exercise regimen you chose. Your workouts should focus on flexability, balance and posture. These three elements will help prevent falls which can lead to fracture in low density bones. Working on these three factors will help maintain bone density, decrease fracture risk and help you look and feel great!

Pilates can be a terrific form of exercise to work on the above goals. However, it is important that your Pilates instructor sufficiently understands which exercises are helpful and which are contra-indicated. There are many traditional exercises which should not be done by anyone with low bone mineral density. These include all exercises involving flexion of the spine (think crunches, roll ups, series of five with the head lifted, short spine massage)and twisting. Instead, the session should include some extension exercises, balance exercises, stretching (without flexion of course!)and posture exercises.

Q: WHAT IS OSTEOPENIA?

Ostopenia is a diagnosis that a doctor gives to indicate that a person has low bone mineral density, but not low enough to be considered osteoporosis. Osteopenia is often described as \”the precusor to osteoporosis.\” Osteopenia is found in both men and women. Typically the diagnosis is given to women in their 60s and men a little older, but it has been found in young women and men as well.

 

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