When you see gluten-free fruit and nut bars in the airport newsstand, you know we’ve come a long way in our society’s awareness of food sensitivities. In my mere two years without gluten, I’ve gone from stuffing my suitcase with Larabars to ensure I don’t starve while away, to, well, still packing them, but knowing that I likely won’t be completely reliant on them the whole trip.
In addition to newsstand snack options, I recently discovered a Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport restaurant having a gluten-free menu. I was thrilled! I would sooner have expected to see a glatt kosher dining area!
The dramatic increase in gluten-free offerings makes me wonder: why the recent influx of news about gluten? Is it that so many more people are getting tested for celiac disease? Are more people questioning their ailing guts and attributing it to gluten? Or is it part of another fad diet, the latest attempt to shed pounds?
One thing I do know is the severe ramifications that gluten can throw at those with celiac and gluten sensitivity. I’m not referring to the violent demonstrations of gastrointestinal distress or bloating. I’m thinking of the prolonged effects on an entirely different system – that of the skeleton.
Those of you with gluten issues cannot absorb essential nutrients needed for building and maintaining strong bones until you address your issue and get your diet under control. With prolonged history of malabsorption, your bones will suffer.
But the good news is that in addition to ensuring proper vitamin and mineral intake to boost your bones, you can supplement your diet with physical activity for further benefit to your skeleton. Not only can you, but you NEED to. Bone health requires exercise in addition to nutrition. And since celiac disease is a known risk factor for osteoporosis, you’ll want to take action now.
So what type of exercise should you be doing? Weight bearing, resistance and impact. This includes anything upright like walking, running and jumping rope. It also includes strength training using weights, bands or pulleys. It includes yoga and Pilates. But don’t just do one thing – instead, cross-train. It’ll stimulate your bones as much as your mind.
Many people don’t pay attention to their bones until they’ve been informed there’s a problem. Don’t be one of those people. Get a leg up to better your bones and begin making movement and exercise a consistent part of your life. Your skeleton will thank you for it!
Author Information: Rebekah Rotstein
Rebekah Rotstein is a New York City-based Pilates instructor and movement educator and the founder of Incorporating Movement. The creator of Pilates for Buff Bones®, she lectures and guest presents on topics of exercise and bone health throughout the U.S. and internationally.
Incorporating Movement, 917.334.1252