Osteoporosis or Cancer?


WebMD reported last week that people who have been taking bone strengthening medications frequently used to treat or avoid osteoporosis may have have doubled their risk of developing esophageal cancer!

Osteoporosis is, of course, a bone degenerating disease that leads to potentially dangerous (even deadly) bone fractures. Commonly discussed as a risk area for aging women, if you’re thinking that this problem is just for the girls, think again!  Recent research at the University of Wisconsin shows, that while “While a 50-year-old woman faces a lifetime risk of 50% for an osteoporotic fracture, anywhere from one in eight to one in four 50-year-old men face that risk.”

Further, the complication and death rates for men are higher than for women.

Medications like Actonel, Boniva, and Fosamax may help avoid osteoporosis, but if you don’t like your chances of developing cancer with them doubled, there is a safer, more reliable option.   It’s called Exercise!

One of the best ways to avoid osteoporosis is to maintain a regular load bearing resistance program!   Better yet, there are no known cancer risks to exercise!

But that’s not all you can do, for it’s also been found that low intensity cardiovascular exercise helps improve bone density too!

If  you’re following our prescribed cardiovascular programming recommendations, your weekly cardio efforts will include:

  1. One short duration, high intensity event (SDHI)
  2. Two moderate duration, moderate intensity events (MDMD)
  3. One long duration, low intensity event (LDLI)

Sundays, early mornings, and evenings are perfect times to get out and complete that Long Duration, Low Intensity (LDLI) event.

But just what, exactly, is Long Duration? And how low is Low Intensity?

Generally, you’ll want the long duration, low exercise event to   in hours,preferably closer to 2 or 3.  But it shouldn’t feel exhausting.

You’ll want to pick up your heart rate just a bit, but not so much that you’re really challenging your circulatory or respiratory systems. The increased blood flow provides much needed nutrient rich blood to your muscles, bones, and joints.

If you have a heart rate monitor we can tell you exactly what range to be in for this exercise.Or …

But before you start thinking “… hey, I’ll just do that daily then …” , do recognize that this only has practical value within a comprehensive program that includes prescribed resistance training as well as more intense bouts of cardio work. It’s part of the puzzle, but a lost puzzle piece by itself.

Further, while cardiovascular exercise, and the long slow duration cardio in particular, can help with improving bone density, resistance exercise (yes, weight lifting) is still most effective.

Exactly what you do for your Weekly LDLI will depend enormously on your current fitness level, but here are a few suggestions.

Walk. The lakes, the rivers, and the bridges all have excellent separation from traffic. And the intensity of a brisk walk is exactly in the right range for LDLI exercise. Again, check this handy tip from RealAge to gauge intensity.

Nordic Walk. If you want to do even than better than just walking, start nordic walking. Long popular with the skiers for summertime training, nordic walking has a leg up on just plain walking in that with the use of hiking poles you:

  • Engage your entire body in the exercise
  • Improve Core Strength and Stability (lower back and abdominals)
  • Increase Shoulder and Arm muscular endurance
  • Improve the safety and stability of your walk, especially for seniors

… thereby burning an additional 45% more calories than with walking alone!!!

You can stick to the urban trails, or get onto the many city and county park hiking trails (Hennepin County Parks, Ramsey County Parks). You can get your hiking poles at REI, or one of the many area cross county shops: Finn Sisu in St. Paul, or Gear West in Long Lake.

Ride your Bike. Check out my May 7th 2009 blog entry on commuting by bike to work!
You can stick to the urban trails, or get onto the many city and county park hiking trails (Hennepin County Parks, Ramsey County Parks). You can get your hiking poles at REI, or one of the many area cross county shops: Finn Sisu in St. Paul, or Gear West in Long Lake.

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2 Responses

  1. […]  the body naturally looses mineral density in the bones (sometimes resulting in osteoporosis); […]

  2. […]  the body naturally looses mineral density in the bones (sometimes resulting in osteoporosis); […]

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