After a certain age, women are asked to take a bone mineral density test. As we have talked about in our article, Brittle Enough to Break, a bone mineral density test is what is used to diagnose you with osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis and osteopenia are two terms to describe people with lower bone mineral density. What it means when you are told you have one of these conditions is that there is a decrease strength in the bones. Low bone mineral density causes there to be more air in between the bones. This decreases the strength of the bones.
Our bones are normally densely packed in order to give them strength and resiliency. When we are growing up, the impact we put on our bodies from running, jumping and moving around solidifies our bone mineral density.
We are at our strongest in our 20s until about 30. After that we see a gradual loss of bone strength which can go completely unnoticed for years!
But, when we are in our 60s, 70s, and 80s (sometimes older, sometimes younger) osteopenia and osteoporosis can develop. The extra air in between the bone don’t give our bones the same toughness. This means we can get a broken bone if we have a hard landing or fall.
A doctor will likely give you some medications to help support your bones if you are given a diagnosis of osteoporosis or osteopenia. In conjunction with that, exercise and in particular strength training is a GREAT way to keep your bones strong. It used to be that lifting weights was frowned upon. Now it is the opposite! Research has shown that lifting when done properly is beneficial!
If you are worried about starting on a strength training program because of your bone health, contacting a physiotherapist is a great way to get put on the right track. Also check out Osteoporosis Canada, they have a lot of wonderful links!