May is National Osteoporosis Month, which, as everybody knows, is the most fun month of the year because—osteoporosis! No. However, it is a helpful reminder that you might not even know you have thinning bones until you break a bone.
Doing jumping jacks is one of the simplest and easiest ways to stimulate bone formation. That’s why the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) has launched the Jumping Jack Challenge, a fun campaign to get everybody moving.
All you have to do is videotape yourself and anyone else you can rope in to do 10 jumping jacks in less than 10 seconds. Then, share it on social media. Doesn’t that sound fun??!?!?! NOF even provides suggested Facebook, Twitter and Instagram post verbiage for you.
And now it’s time to lay down some facts from the National Osteoporosis Foundation and the International Osteoporosis Foundation:
- You can lose up to 20 percent of your bone mass during the five to seven years after menopause.
- One in two women and up to one in four men will break a bone in their lifetime because of osteoporosis.
- Osteoporosis is a greater health risk for women than heart attack, stroke and breast cancer combined.
- There’s no point in taking 1,000 milligrams of calcium at a pop—your body can only use 500 at a time. See the NOF recommendations for calcium and vitamin D.
- Two-and-a-half hours per week of weight-bearing exercise, like disco dancing! is recommended for bone strength.
- Lifting weights is good, too. No need to be a power-lifter—just do something that involves muscles. Muscles and ligaments pull on your bones, stimulating more bone formation.
- If you have osteoporosis, your hips, wrists and spine are most likely sites for fracture. A fracture can be a major break from a fall, or a tiny crack from daily life, and you might not even know it’s there.
- Risk factors include being small and thin, teenage anorexia nervosa, smoking, more than 2-3 alcoholic drinks per day, drinking soda, having a parent with osteoporosis, lack of exercise and lack of calcium-rich food. Some diseases contribute to bone loss, too, including diabetes, endocrine disorders and rheumatoid arthritis. Some medications can also increase risk.
- Steroids like cortisone and prednisone are particularly bad for bones, as helpful as they are for many medical conditions.
- Hormone replacement therapy during menopause and thereafter can help prevent some bone loss.
Even if you have osteoporosis, or its precursor, osteopenia, a balanced diet and regular exercise can help. Yoga counts, and so does simply jumping up and down 20-50 times per day. Easy peasy!
The experts also recommend taking calcium and vitamin D supplements. Some recommend additional bone minerals, too, like magnesium, zinc, copper and manganese, that work in conjunction with vitamin D and calcium, that you can find in Caltrate® and other supplements.
So…who’s up for some jumping jacks?