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Osteoporosis - the silent epidemic and Pilates

It is estimated 3 million people in the UK suffer from Osteoporosis 1 in 3 women and 1 in 12 men over 50 have Osteoporosis.
1 in 2 women and 1 in 5 men will suffer an Osteoporosis related fracture after the age of 50.
Every 3 minutes someone has a fracture due to Osteoporosis.
The spine, hip and wrist are the most likely sites for fracture.
Women lose as much as 20% of their bone mass following menopause.
There are over 200 bones in the body.

So what contributes to the onset of Osteoporosis?
When you are in your twenties you are at your peak bone density, between 30 and 40 this levels off and after 50, the bone clearing (osteoclast) rate overtakes the bone building (osteoblast) rate. So it is imperative to make the most of building your bone mass and then do what you can to maintain this to help reduce the loss in bone density as you approach the menopause (for women). This does not mean that men do not need to be aware of this as they will also lose bone density after the age of 50 but the reduction will not be as dramatic as it is for women. Obviously there are certain risk factors that might be hereditary or genetic, but a lot depends on diet and lifestyle choices.

So what can we do to help prevent this bone loss?
Well The World Health Organisation suggests that modification to diet and lifestyle can help to prevent Osteoporosis and could potentially lead to a significant decrease in fracture rates.
Dr Marilyn Glenville PhD, who is the UK’s leading expert in nutritional health for women says "when is comes to bones and exercise it is definitely a case of use it or lose it….There is simply no way around this. If you do not continue to make demands on your bones, they will not keep up the bone density". 'Osteoporosis. How to prevent, treat and reverse it.' Dr Marilyn Glenville PhD.
She suggests four different elements to your physical activity:

• Weight bearing
• Resistance
• Balance
• Flexibility

Adding these elements to your exercise regime and combined with changes to your diet to make sure you are getting the right nutrients your body needs to rebuild and renew bones, can help with the prevention and treatment of Osteoporosis.

So how does this relate to Pilates?
The Pilates Matwork repertoire can be adapted to focus on helping build bone density, strengthen muscles around vulnerable bones, target anti gravity muscles, help improve balance and generally provide sufficient stimulus for bone growth. To progress we must continually challenge the bones, convincing them to be denser through the use of weights, stretch bands and the body weight alone. We must also change the focus every 10 minutes, as after this time the bone will stop responding, so variety is key!

The main goals for working with clients with Osteoporosis and Osteopeninia (the precursor of Osteoporosis) is to:

• Improve body awareness and proprioception
• Improve posture and efficiency of breathing
• Improve joint mobility and the ability to hip hinge
• Improve pelvic floor strength/control and core stability
• Improve overall muscle strength and flexibility
• Improve relaxation skills and coordination

To find out how you can help build your bone density through Pilates contact Andrea on:
tel: 07971 445020

To find out more about Dr Marilyn Glenville PhD and her book ‘Osteoporosis. How to prevent, treat and reverse it’ go to:

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