Every day $325,000 is spent treating fractures.
There are 30,000 clinical fractures and more than 4000 hip fractures annually.
Half of hip fracture sufferers will require long-term care and a quarter will suffer an early death.
One in three women and one in five men will suffer from an osteoporotic fracture during their lifetime. And after having an osteoporotic fracture the chance of having another fracture doubles.
These statistics from Osteoporosis Society of NZ paint a worrying picture of the bone health of New Zealanders. What can we do to do improve our bone health?
Osteoporosis is commonly thought of as an older person’s condition. Prevention and treatment have, consequently, concentrated on older people, overlooking the critical importance of building healthy bones over a lifetime.
The report that these statistics come from state that many of these people could have avoided falls and fractures had they been exercising. The most effective exercise to maintain bone density is ‘weight-bearing’ exercise, when your muscles move against gravity; for example, when you are on your feet. Your bones become stronger when they bear weight during exercise and when some amount of ‘impact’ or extra strain is placed on those bones.
It is recommended that every day you should do at least 30 minutes of weight-bearing physical activity that works your muscles against gravity. Try walking briskly, low-impact aerobics or golf. Tai chi is excellent for increased flexibility and stability.
It is even better if you are able to do these exercises outside as Vitamin D is needed for your body to absorb calcium (essential for good bone health). For more information about the role calcium and Vitamin D have on bone health read Getting some Vitamin D and Vitamins and Minerals you should add to your diet!