Act actively against bone loss: exercise helps with osteoporosis
Around six million Germans suffer from osteoporosis. The insidious disease comes from slowly, many sufferers often do not even notice that they are ill until a bone suddenly breaks. But bone loss can be prevented. Physical activity is particularly important here.
One of the most common diseases worldwide
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), osteoporosis is one of the ten most common diseases worldwide. Around six million people suffer from it in Germany alone. The disease mainly affects older people: As the Barmer health insurance company wrote in a current communication, four percent of men and 14.5 percent of women aged 50 and over are affected in this country. The experts also point out ways of protecting yourself against osteoporosis.
Chronic pain and permanent disability
Osteoporosis creeps in, and many sufferers do not even notice that they are ill until a bone suddenly breaks.
And even after fractures, many osteoporosis patients often do not get a correct diagnosis.
If the bone loss is not diagnosed in time, chronic pain or permanent disabilities may also arise.
However, there are ways to prevent and even treat osteoporosis.
Building bone mass
In addition to a calcium-rich diet and an adequate supply of vitamin D, physical activity is important to strengthen the skeleton.
"With every single movement, the muscles exert a stimulus on the bones, which in turn activates the build-up of bone mass," says Klaus Möhlendick, sports scientist at Barmer.
"Therefore, sport is not only used for prophylaxis, but can even increase a reduced bone density," explains the expert.
Act actively against bone loss
People suffering from osteoporosis tend to be passive out of fear of broken bones, even though regular training would then be the order of the day.
"It is important for osteoporosis patients to have an individual training program drawn up," says Möhlendick.
“Sports scientists, physiotherapists or trained fitness trainers can discuss together with those affected which exercises are suitable and to what extent. An optimal training plan includes strength and endurance sports several times a week. "
Prevention through sport
It is generally advisable to prevent osteoporosis before the bones shrink. If you exercise regularly early enough, you can preventively strengthen your bones.
The Barmer expert Möhlendick not only has an eye on the bones.
“Sport is generally good and important for the whole body. Movement not only strengthens the skeleton, but also promotes coordination, mobilization and balance. All three factors increase stability and gait safety, ”said the sports scientist.
In this way, you also reduce the risk of falls and thus of broken bones.
According to health experts, care should be taken to choose sports that put pressure on the bones.
Among other things, light gymnastics, Nordic walking, hiking, cross-country skiing or cycling are suitable.
Swimming is good for endurance, the heart and the circulatory system, is easy on the ligaments and joints, but does not strain the bones. It is therefore less suitable as a prophylaxis and to support osteoporosis therapy.
Adequate calcium intake
In order to strengthen the bones, it is also important to consume sufficient calcium - and this at a young age. This mineral is found in numerous foods.
Dairy products are often highlighted as good sources of calcium. However, the "Osteoporosis Self-Help Groups Dachverband e.V." (OSD) on its website points out that "a high protein content in the diet leads to calcium loss".
And: "The frequent consumption of animal proteins through dairy products, eggs and meat leads to chronic acidification of the organism," said the experts.
It is therefore questionable whether dairy products are really health-promoting and optimal calcium suppliers.
According to other experts, the important mineral should be better absorbed through vegetables such as broccoli, fennel or kale, nuts, soy products or calcium-containing mineral water.
Beware of the calcium predator phosphate. This can be found particularly in sausages, in cola drinks or in the preservatives of ready meals.
Vitamin D supply and regular exercise
Vitamin D is also extremely important for preventing osteoporosis.
The so-called sun vitamin is formed by the human body itself if there is sufficient sun exposure, but it may be necessary to artificially supply vitamin D with low exposure to sunlight. (ad)