Strength To Carry On

Sharon Jane Akinyemi

Sharon Jane Akinyemi

By Sharon Jane Akinyemi

It’s instructive to know how others, both famous and not so famous, handled the crises in their lives, found their life mates, raised their families, and pursued their interesting careers, whether it be as a merchant, writer, artist, poet, politician, soldier, actor, attorney, inventor, scientist, engineer, physician, nurse, teacher, or any other career you can think of.

I find that when I ask a lot of good questions about someone’s lifestyle, their goals, dreams and desires, I come away with a lot of who they are and what makes them thick. I then start to think how can I best serve them in their life’s journey. It could be giving them some good  pieces of information about health, stress, nutrition or whatever it may be. I’ve heard this statement many times before, “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care”. When you genuinely care about people, they can feel it and they are more willing to receive information that can help them live a life of optimal health. In the interim, your advice or idea may not really make sense but if it is genuine and sincere, on the long run you will be appreciated for it.

I have at several occasion had the privilege of speaking  in conferences on this burning issue of exercise and strength. It’s so sad to discover that certain types of diseases which used to be associated with  old age is now common with the younger generation. Let me ask a question- How strong are your bones? How far can they take you in your life’ journey? These are questions we must answer now or later.

Osteoporosis is a disease of the bones that affects men and women, especially women beyond menopause because estrogen helps to protect bone. In osteoporosis, the bones become brittle and weak and have a greater risk of fracture. The word osteoporosis means “porous bones,” where porous essentially means “full of holes” — and that accurately describes the condition of osteoporotic bones.

Dr William Shiel Jr. MD FACP, FACR.  viewed osteoporosis as  when there is an imbalance between new bone formation and old bone re-absorbtion. The body may fail to form enough new bone, or too much old bone may be reabsorbed, or both. Two essential minerals for normal bone formation are calcium and phosphate.

Sharon Jane Akinyemi
Sharon Jane Akinyemi

Throughout youth, the body uses these minerals to produce bones. Calcium is essential for proper functioning of the heart, brain, and other organs. To keep those critical organs functioning, the body reabsorbs calcium that is stored in the bones to maintain blood calcium levels. If calcium intake is not sufficient or if the body does not absorb enough calcium from the diet, bone production and bone tissue may suffer. Thus, the bones may become weaker, resulting in brittle and fragile bones that can break easily.

This brings us to the need for proper exercise and nutrition.

There are two  types of exercises that are important for building and maintaining bone density: Weight-bearing and Muscle-Strenghteing exercises.



These exercises include activities that make you move against gravity while staying upright. Weight-bearing exercises can be high-impact or low-impact.

High-impact weight-bearing exercises help build bones and keep them strong. If you have broken a bone due to osteoporosis or are at risk of breaking a bone, you may need to avoid high-impact exercises. If you’re not sure, you should check with your doctor.

Examples of high-impact weight-bearing exercises are dancing, doing high-impact aerobics, jogging/running, jumping rope, stair climbing and tennis

Low-impact weight-bearing exercises can also help keep bones strong and are a safe alternative if you cannot do high-impact exercises. Examples of low-impact weight-bearing exercises are using elliptical training machines, doing low-impact aerobics, using stair-step machines and fast walking on a treadmill or outside

Muscle-Strengthening Exercises

These exercises include activities where you move your body, a weight or some other resistance against gravity. They are also known as resistance exercises and include:

Functional movements, such as standing and rising up on your toes. This can also improve strength, balance and flexibility. However, certain positions may not be safe for people with osteoporosis or those at increased risk of broken bones. For example, exercises that have you bend forward may increase the chance of breaking a bone in the spine. A physical therapist should be able to help you learn which exercises are safe and appropriate for you.

Non-Impact Exercises

Non-impact exercises can help you to improve balance, posture and how well you move in everyday activities. These exercises can also help to increase muscle strength and decrease the risk of falls and broken bones. Some of these exercises include:

Balance exercises that strengthen your legs and test your balance, such as walking can decrease your risk of falls.

Posture exercises that improve your posture and reduce rounded or “sloping” shoulders can help you decrease the chance of breaking a bone, especially in the spine.

Functional exercises that improve how well you move can help you with everyday activities and decrease your chance of falling and breaking a bone. For example, if you have trouble getting up from a chair or climbing stairs, you should do these activities as exercises.

A physical therapist can teach you balance, posture and functional exercises.

Starting A New 

Exercise Programme

Check out these sample exercises that promote good posture, strength, movement, flexibility and balance. Be sure to do them along with your weight-bearing exercises.

If you haven’t exercised regularly for a while, check with your therapist before beginning a new exercise programme—particularly if you have health problems such as heart disease, diabetes or high blood pressure. If you’re at high risk of breaking a bone, you should work with a physical therapist to develop a safe exercise programme.

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Once you have your physical therapist’s approval, start slowly. If you’ve already broken bones in the spine because of osteoporosis, be very careful to avoid activities that require reaching down, bending forward, rapid twisting motions, heavy lifting and those that increase your chance of a fall.

As you get started, your muscles may feel sore for a day or two after you exercise. If soreness lasts longer, you may be working too hard and need to ease up. Exercises should be done in a pain-free range of motion.

How Much Exercise 

Do You Need?

Weight-bearing exercises: 30 minutes on most days of the week. Do a 30-minutesession or multiple sessions spread out throughout the day. The benefits to your bones are the same.

Muscle-strengthening exercises:Two to three days per week. If you don’t have much time for strengthening/resistance training, do small amounts at a time. You can do just one body part each day. For example do arms one day, legs the next and trunk the next. You can also spread these exercises out during your normal day.

Exercise can prevent Osteoporosis

Exercise of the right type, called “weight-bearing” or “load-bearing” exercise,” helps keep bones strong by causing the muscles and tendons to pull on the bones, which in turn stimulates bone cells to produce more bone. The load on the bones can be created by your own bodyweight, as in running or jogging, or by external weights like dumbbells or gym machines in a weight training program.

In fact, studies suggest that the best exercise may not only be weight-bearing but also “high-impact” exercise. This means imparting a jolt to muscle and bone such as you would when placing a foot forcefully on the ground while running, or lifting or pushing a weight suddenly. Naturally, you have to ensure you do such exercise safely.

One measure of the health of bones is “bone mineral density” or BMD for short. A bone scan to assess BMD is a relatively simple procedure that is offered by medical practitioners.

Exercise Prevents 

Falls And Fractures Too

Although strong bones may help you prevent fractures if you fall, the best way to protect from fall fractures is not to fall in the first place! Balance and strength are the keys to fall protection. Appropriate exercise as we age — such as weight training — not only helps keep bones healthy, it protects against falls and fractures as well improving balance and strength.

Team sports involving running and throwing — basketball, football, baseball, softball, volleyball

Individual sports involving running — racket sports.Walking (but less effective than running or jogging) can also prevent the occurrence of osteoporosis.

Bear in mind that running or leg-based exercise acts mainly on the lower body. And although much of the disabling effect of bone loss is felt in the hips and spine, exercising the upper-body with weight-bearing exercise is of equal importance. Broken wrists and arms from falls as we age is not uncommon.

Nutrition For

Healthy Bones

Much of the reserve of healthy bone is built in youth and before the age of 30. Women may be more susceptible to an inadequate foundation process at this time than men. Sufficient calcium intake, a balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables and load-bearing exercise are the keys to solid bone growth when you’re young. Then, with continued exercise into old age and this goes for men as well, bone density decline can be kept to a minimum. Although women are the main focus of information about osteoporosis and low bone density (osteopenia), some men are also seriously afflicted by this condition.

Even if you do all the right things while growing up and into adulthood, your inherited characteristics, your genes, can present you with bones that are susceptible to osteoporosis. This is even greater reason to maximize your lifestyle to prevent poor bone health.

How Much Calcium, Vitamin Do I Need?

Calcuim: The recommended intake of calcium for adults, men and women, 19 to 50 years is 1,000 milligrams each day, with higher amounts recommended for younger and older age groups and in pregnancy.

A full list of recommended intakes is available from the National Institutes of Health Calcium Fact Sheet, in addition to additional valuable information on calcium in food and how to meet your requirements.

Athletes or heavy exercisers do not generally need more calcium than is recommended in the guidelines, or more than sedentary people. Exercise plus adequate calcium intake works together to enhance bone quality. A watchful attention to recommended calcium intake is all that is required.

Vitamin D: This vitamin works with calcium to build bone. The recommended intake of vitamin D ranges from 200 to 600 international units each day from childhood to old age. Some experts say that this recommended intake is too low. As a consequence, the vitamin D standard is under review. The Vitamin D Fact Sheet provides more information.

Vitamin K: Found in green vegetables, it is also an important vitamin for bone development.

In conclusion, It is important to surround yourself with likeminded people that are on the same path. It’s encouraging and inspiring to grow and go on a journey with people that aspire to live a more wholesome lifestyle. When I was on a course some time ago I was around a lot of very health conscious people and I lived well. But then I moved close to home and started eating foods I have not eaten in decades, yet I caught myself and got back on the bandwagon of good health. It wasn’t easy, but it was necessary to get back to taking care of myself. Your health should be of utmost priority..

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