As we age our bones begin to deteriorate faster than rebuild, but not only that, research also indicate that there might be a relationship between lack of estrogen after menopause and osteoporosis. In fact, Estrogen acts as a natural protector and defender of bone strength. The lack of estrogen contributes to the development of osteoporosis. This is of particular interest to me as I’ve just gone through knee surgery for cartilage regeneration and have developed significant osteoporosis. If there is such a relationship, what can we do to prevent, slow down, or manage osteoporosis? Luckily there are a few ways you can mange your bone density without medication - Nutrition and Exercise.
Nutrition As for nutrition focus on increasing calcium in your food. Daily intake of calcium should be at least 1,000 mg per day until 50 and after 50, women should get at least 1,200 mg of calcium. A daily menu ensuring this amount of intake might include dairy products (e.g., milk, yogurt, cheese) which all include a good amount of calcium and vitamin D. Other sources of calcium are legumes and leafy greens (e.g., the super food Kale). But don’t forget, in order to better absorb the calcium you need Vitamin D; thus, your diet should include enough Vitamin D to enhance calcium absorption. People up to 50 year old should get 400-500 IU each day, while people ages 51-70 should get 600 IU each day. However, don’t overdo it as it may harm your kidneys and weaken your bones if your intake is more than 4000 IU of Vitamin D per day. Lucky for us Californians we get a good dose of Vitamin D just being out in the sun!!
As for exercise, during menopause we need to focus more and more on strength training for a variety of reasons (e.g., metabolism, cortisol levels, belly fat, muscle mass…more on that in my next blogpost) with one of them being bone health.
Strength training should be done at least 3 times per week and you should use progression in your strength training (e.g., adding weights as you get stronger, more/less repetitions, slow/fast movements, vary exercises and muscles) so you are challenging the muscles and building strength. If you are looking for an ideal cardio/strength class to take and you are local to Los Altos, CA - You are in luck! I’m teaching a 30 minute spin + 30 minute TRX/Strength Training on Fridays 11:15-12:15. Within one hour you get it all!! Come join me at Momentum Indoor Cycling studio :)
One crucial part of strength training is your core. Your core is not only important for boosting your confidence and looking good in a bikini, but more importantly it is the fundamental muscle(s) you need to keep correct form during strength training sessions. To get you kick-started, enjoy my short 6-min video below to get your abs working up a sweat! Let me know in the comments what you think and if you have any questions!
Stay Strong Always!