Dem Bones, Dem Bones, Dem Bones!
Exercise, Nutrition, and Bone Health
Performance Coach Amy Nguyen,
B.S. Foods & Nutrition, M.S. candidate Exercise Physiology & Nutritional Sciences
Our bones are constantly being remodeled and maintained through a balance of breakdown (bone resorption) and building (bone formation). When you're young, your body makes new bone faster than it breaks down old bone, and your bone mass increases. Adolescence is a very important time for bone health and development. People with lower peak bone mass are at higher risk of fractures and osteoporosis in the future. Up to 90% of peak bone mass is reached by age 18 in girls and by age 20 in boys1, which makes youth the best time to focus on exercise and nutrition to invest in bone health. Most people reach their peak bone mass around age 30. After that, bone remodeling continues, but you lose slightly more bone mass than you gain. Why worry about bone health? Low bone mass leads to increased risk of fractures. Osteoporosis is a disease that affects over 10% of the population, with approximately 54 million Americans having bone breakage due to osteoporosis. This equates to $19 billion in related costs every year.2 People with lower peak bone mass are at higher risk of fractures and osteoporosis in the future.
Nutrition and weight bearing exercise are two lifestyle choices that can influence the risk of fracture. Physical activity is associated with good bone health. Particularly weight-bearing and resistance exercises, as weight is placed on the bone it puts the bone under strain sending a signal to form new bone. Weight-bearing exercises like walking, hiking, jogging, climbing stairs, playing tennis, and dancing force you to work against gravity. Resistance exercises – such as lifting weights also strengthens bone.3 Other exercises like swimming and bicycling can help build and maintain muscles and have cardiovascular benefits, but they are not the best exercises for bone building. Cross-training these types of exercises/sports with resistance exercise is recommended for maximizing bone health and overall health (like the types of workouts we provide in our Olympus Performance Fitness classes)! Key nutrients when it comes to bone health are adequate energy intake, calcium, vitamin D, and protein. It’s important to maintain a well balanced diet for our overall health, but inadequate intake of any of those key nutrients can affect your bone health. calcium rich sources will be foods like dairy, broccoli or dark leafy vegetables, sardines or calcium fortified foods. Our main source of Vitamin D is sunlight and there are very few foods that contain Vitamin D in adequate amounts (e.g. fatty fish, egg yolks). Protein sources like meat, dairy, eggs, and fish are considered high-quality and complete proteins. Meaning they have a high digestible value. Plant protein sources on the other hand have a different amino acid profile from that of animal protein. Plant proteins require you to combine different foods to make a complete protein. For older adults adequate nutrition will aid in maintaining better long term bone health. For athletes, stress fractures in sport make up about 15% of injuries, so strengthening bone with proper nutritional intake can help prevent injury.4 Sports Dietitians recommend athletes get 1000-1300mg Calcium/day, 1500-2000IU Vitamin D/day, and 20-30g of high quality protein/meal.
Questions or curious for more info? You can discuss your dietary calcium requirements and bone health with our Naturopathic Doctor in further detail. For a test for any vitamin or mineral deficiency please consult our ND Dr. Elaine! Interested in getting your resistance and weight bearing exercise going? Contact us to get set up to try your first class with one of our Performance Coaches!
Brianna Guzman | B.S. Exercise Science
What is Mobility?
Time to get honest about the air squat form. The standard squat position
Often, coaches throw 'mobility' around, saying work on mobility to enhance the squat position. However, what exactly are coaches addressing, the flexibility of one's tissues or the range of motion through one's joints?
Think of it like this; Mobility refers to joints actively moving through motions, whereas flexibility refers to how proficient the joints passively move through the motion; achieving both flexibility and mobility in the joints is ideal. Restrictions in the squat dictate joint immobility and/or tissue tightness. A variety of variables such as;
The squat is a complex movement that incorporates multiple muscles and joints to execute. The good news is that the lack of mobility can be addressed, assessed, and aided to improve the squat.
Ways to Improve squat mobilityHip and ankle Mobilization
The squat heavily relies on the hip, knees, and ankle joints. The hip joint flexes when descending into the squat, allowing the hips to sit back. The knees flex, bending over the ankles. The ankles dorsiflex. When ascending from the bottom of the squat, the ankles plantarflex. The knees extend, and the hips extend. The muscles surrounding each joint allow movements to flow appropriately through the joint. When the joints' muscles are tight, issues such as the heels lifting when at the bottom of a squat are because the ankles cannot properly dorsiflex or the hips cannot comfortably flex with agitated hip flexors.
As mentioned, hip mobility is not just about the range of motion that the joint can achieve. The joint must ACTIVELY move through the motion with control and stability. Strengthening the muscles surrounding the hip is a great way to improve mobility in the squat. An example, something as simple as performing a slow and controlled goblet squat with moderate weight can help strengthen those hips. Sitting at the bottom of a goblet squat, allowing more time under tension, and focusing on the squat position can also help strengthen while working on the active mobility of the hip joint.
Recommended Squat Mobility Routine Banded Pigeon
Place band in the hip fold and place the front leg in a 90 deg bent position. Allow the band to gently pull the hip. Hold the position for 30 seconds breathing deeply and rocking forward and back in the same position.
Place both legs in a 90-degree bent position, sitting upright, this position alone may be a good stretch alone. If manageable place both feet on the ground and rock to the opposing side, landing in the same 90 degrees bent position. Repeat these steps slowly, staying upright as best as possible while rocking between the positions.
Referring to the first image: Face away from the band, in a half-kneeling position, keep heel planted on the ground and slowly lean forward while keeping the heel planted on the ground.
Referring to the second image: Elevate foot on a small plate, keep heel planted on the ground and slowly lean toward the band.
If you have mobility and or stability limitations, BOOK an appointment for Private Training or Sports Rehab Physical Therapy today!
Author: Annemarie Alf
"We Specialize In Optimizing Teen And Active Adult Lives In North County San Diego By Addressing The WHOLE Person. We offer A Holistic, Integrative Approach To Performance And Wellness That Will Assess And Address The Root Causes That Lead To Pain, Hormonal Imbalances, Fatigue, Weight Gain And/ Or Decreased Performance."