It Weakens Your Bones…and You Do It Every Day

In All Health Watch

If you go to the doctor and your bone density is low, your physician is likely to give you the following advice…

Get more calcium in your diet. Take vitamin D. Do high-impact exercise. And you may be put on an osteoporosis drug like Fosamax (alendronate).

But a new study shows there is one bone-strengthening solution that may work better than any of these things.

Researchers at Britain’s Newcastle and Durham Universities followed 214 participants. The subjects wore fitness monitors for a week.[1]

Researchers also scanned subjects’ hips and spines to gauge bone density.

The study found that people who spent more time sitting had weaker bones.

Men who sat for a half hour longer than average had 22% lower spinal bone density.

It is a cliché to say that “sitting is new the smoking.” And that phrase likely overstates the harm of being sedentary. But when it comes to bone strength it may actually be true.

The study authors said they found that the bone loss from sitting is comparable to that from smoking.[2]

9 Ways to Sit Less

The findings are clear… The less you sit, the stronger your bones.

If you have an office job, it can be difficult to avoid sitting for long stretches. But there are simple steps you can take to protect your bones:[3]

1. Step away from the desk. Resist the temptation to eat at your desk. Use your lunchtime to get up and go somewhere else.

2. Take a short stroll every hour…even if it’s just to the bathroom or the water cooler. You can set an alarm on your phone to remind you.

3. Walk while you talk. Make it a habit to pace when you take phone calls.

4. Stand up and stretch. It isn’t healthy to maintain the same posture for more than 30 minutes. At least every half hour, stand up. Do these simple office stretches recommended by the Mayo Clinic.

5. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes. If you’re wearing towering heels or a stiff suit, you won’t want to move. Even if your office requires formal dress, you can choose a chunkier heel or find a suit made from flexible fabric.

6. Take the stairs. Avoid elevators.

7. Take a two-minute exercise break…at your desk. Squats, pushups, leg lifts, planks, and other stationary exercises can be done right at your desk.

8. Track your steps. Use a Fitbit or a cell phone app like Google Fit or Runkeeper. Find out how many steps you do in a normal day and set a goal to improve.

9. Have a ball. For part of the day, exchange your chair for an exercise ball. They will change which muscles you use while sitting.

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