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Sport and Fitness on the Costa Blanca - osteoporosis control

Sally Abel is a UK qualified sport therapist with a BSc (Hons) in Sport & Exercise Science and a member of IIHHT. She has been working in the health and fitness industry for over 5 years. Previous to moving to Spain, she worked for the National Public Health Service on Heart Disease prevention projects.

If you are looking for a personal trainer, or have any questions, you can contact Sally on 00 34 647 275 051.

See Also:-
Blood Pressure
Rheumatoid Arthritis
Weight Training - part 1
Weight Training - part 2


What is osteoporosis?

The bones in our skeleton are made of a thick outer shell and a strong inner mesh filled with collagen (protein), calcium salts and other minerals. The inside looks like honeycomb, with blood vessels and bone marrow in the spaces between bone. Bone is a living tissue and contains cells that make and mould bone. Problems occur after about the age of 45, when you lose a certain amount of bone due to this process slowing down.

Osteoporosis literally means 'porous bones', and osteoporosis occurs when the holes between bone (discussed earlier), become bigger, making it fragile and liable to break easily

Osteoporosis usually affects the whole skeleton but it most commonly causes breaks (fractures) to bone in the wrist, spine and hip.

Am I at risk?

Women are more at risk of developing osteoporosis as they have smaller less dense bones than men. Women are more at risk after the menopause as the ovaries no longer produce oestrogen which helps to maintain bone mass. Other conditions associated with low oestrogen levels include anorexia, over exercising and missing periods for six months or more due to low body weight. Other risk factors include having a family history and certain medical conditions, although there is little you can do to prevent these.

What can I do to prevent getting osteoporosis?

It is important to build good bone strength and density at a young age to prevent problems later on. Lifestyle factors can influence the amount of bone you invest in your bone 'bank' during your youth and how much you save in later life.

exercise on the Costa BlancaExercise

Like muscles and other parts of the body, bones suffer if they are not used. Regular weight-bearing exercise throughout life is best, but it is never too late to start. . Good bone building exercises include running, skipping, aerobics, stair climbing, weight training, dancing even brisk walking. Exercise helps because the pulling and tugging on the bones by the muscles helps to stimulate bone-making cells and strengthens the bones. It also gives strength to the supporting muscles around bones. This helps to increase tone, balance, etc, which may help to prevent you from falling.

Try to exercise at least five times a week for a minimum for 30 minutes. If you haven't exercised for a while, start gently and check with your doctor if you have another health problem and are worried about exercising.


A balanced diet also promotes healthy bones, incorporating minerals and vitamins from different food groups.

An important mineral which gives bones their strength and rigidity. The National osteoporosis Society recommends 1,000mg a day for women aged 26 to 45. You can obtain this by for example by,
• drinking a pint of milk a day, plus
• eating 60 g (2 oz) hard cheese such as Cheddar or Edam, or one pot of yoghurt (125 g), or 60 g of sardines.
• Other non-dairy sources of calcium include green leafy vegetables, pulses and seeds such as baked beans, soya beans and sesame seeds , bony fish and dried fruit.
*Avoid too much animal protein and salt as these restrict the absorption of calcium*

Vitamin D
This helps create and maintain strong bones. It is obtained from your diet or produced in the skin when it is exposed to sun. Oily fish is a god source, as is white bread.

Dietary supplements of calcium and/or vitamin D tablets may be advisable you do not get enough in your diet and you are at increased risk of developing osteoporosis. A dietary supplement of vitamin D is recommended for all people over the age of 65.

What else can I do?

Smoking and drinking
Chemicals from tobacco in the bloodstream can affect the bones and make bone loss worse. It lowers oestrogen levels and has a dampening effect on the cells that produce new bones. It also interferes with calcium absorption. If you smoke, you should make every effort to stop. It will benefit your bones and your general health and fitness.

Also, cut down on alcohol! Drinking excessive amounts increase urinary loss of calcium and other important nutrients. Bone density of chronic drinkers can be reduced by up to 60%. Limit your alcohol intake to a maximum of 21 units per week for men and 14 units for women.

For further information the following websites are very good!

Next month, exercise and arthritis is the topic! So if you have any questions about this or the other subjects already covered, or anything you would like me to write about, Please mail the web site! See you next month!

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