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eight hours apart. “If you jump contin- uously, the exercise loses effectiveness pretty quickly,” he says. Those that enjoy circuit training


should do something else during the 30-second rests between repetitions, Tucker advises. Because it’s the jolt of jumping that stimulates bone strength, using a mini-trampoline or another cushioning device to lessen impact on


YOGA FOR BONES


Yoga doesn’t involve bouncing or jumping for the most part, but it can be helpful in maintaining strong bones, says Sherri Betz, a Santa Cruz, California, physical therapist and Pilates and yoga instructor. “Poses, including the tree, chair, warrior, triangle, half moon and sun salute, need to be as dynamic as possible and focus on leg strengthening and spine extension.


the body won’t increase bone density. Betz cautions against starting a


jumping program too quickly. “Proper alignment, balance and body aware- ness come first,” she says. “Do 20 to 25 heel raises in a row, a full squat with good alignment and a full lunge to ready the body for a jumping program.” Such strengthening safeguards against falling and injury.


Walking Isn’t It Walking, running, weight training and other repetitive exercises don’t improve bone density, says Hawkins.


“Walk and do other repetitive exercises for cardiovascular health and gen- eral fitness. While these might help


maintain current bone strength, they won’t improve bone density.” Walking reduced the risk of hip fracture by 41 percent for postmenopausal women walking four hours a week, with fewer falls due to improved strength, bal- ance and other factors per the Journal of the American Medical Association. Numerous studies confirm that


exercise of any kind keeps us healthy, but for bone health, the answer is to start weight-bearing exercises early and sustain the practice for a lifetime.


Kathleen Barnes is a health writer and author of The Calcium Lie II: What Your Doctor Still Doesn’t Know, with Dr. Robert Thompson. Connect at KathleenBarnes.com.


BEST BONE TEST


The most common way of testing bone density is a DEXA (dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry) scan. The result is called a T-score and is one case where a zero is perfect. A score of +1.0 to -1.0 is considered normal. A score between -1.0 and -2.5 is considered osteopenia, or weakened bones. A score lower than -2.5 indicates some level of osteoporosis.


The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends bone density testing for women and men older than 65 and 70, respectively, and those that are petite, prone to breaking


bones or have other risk factors. For more information, visit Tinyurl.com/BoneDensityTest.


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natural awakenings October 2017 49


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