As baby boomers segue from child-rearing to retirement, they find themselves bombarded by the media with information about osteoporosis. It makes sense, considering that more than 44 million American men and women age 50 and older have osteoporosis or its precursor, osteopenia. So between news articles about calcium and vitamin D, Sally Field promoting the drug Boniva on TV commercials and the now-ubiquitous term “weight-bearing exercise,” we are all hearing a great deal about this epidemic.
Yet controversy abounds, with new findings questioning the benefits of calcium as well as the risks versus benefits of osteoporosis medications. The conflicting information is enough to overwhelm even the most media-savvy consumer. But the one continuously advocated method of addressing the condition is exercise. Not only does exercise help to maintain and build strong bones, but it can improve balance and reflexes and thereby prevent falls, the most dangerous threat to those with fragile bones. According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation, 60 percent of those who fracture a hip still cannot walk independently a year later. Clearly, the goal should be to stay strong, agile and upright. (more…)