WHY HIT THE GYM ... Because regular exercise regimen is crucial for strong bones. - File photo
Burjeel Hospital doctors explain why and what steps are needed to keep our body healthy
Do you know that thinking positive and feeling good also has to do withe the kind of diet you take and how good you keep your body? Beauty maybe skin deep but fit is to the bone and the health of our bones is crucial to our health and longevity in general.
And if you have a family history of bone disease or are at risk, you should make some healthy lifestyle choices at the earliest to protect your bones. These are the very structures that support you, don't take them for granted, strengthen them if you want them to take a long way you need to take a few precautionary steps.
Dr Harold Vanderschmidt, specialist orthopedic surgeon at Burjeel Hospital and Dr Faisal Hayat Khan, chief physiotherapist at the hospital, advice people on the right steps they should take to keep our most priceless possession, our body, healthy.
These steps should include the right diet, which includes nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, vitamin D, K2 and magnesium, as they are critical for strong bones. Also, equally important is regular exercise regimen to promote bone health. The latter is particularly crucial, as exercise can help build bone density and strength. This is reason enough for you to hit the gym.
Benefits of exercising
According to the US-based National Osteoporosis Foundation, there are two types of exercises that are important for building and maintaining bone density: weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening exercises. The former could include both high and low impact activities. High impact exercises, which include dancing, high impact aerobics, hiking, jogging or running, jumping rope, tennis and climbing stairs are important for strengthening the bones, however people suffering from osteoporosis are at risk for fractures and should avoid them. They should instead opt for the low impact variations in the gym such as working with elliptical machines, running on a treadmill or using a stepper/ stair climber.
One of the most popular activities in the gym include working out with a range of free weights and machines that use weights. These exercises, which offer resistance against gravity, build the bones and protect the bones and use everything from body weight, and elastic exercise bands, to lifting weights and functional movements.
Weight bearing exercises are best done 30 minutes on most days of the week; a 30 minute session every day is recommended. Muscle strengthening exercises need to be done two to three times a week for best results.
Get agile, improve balance
Exercises such as yoga, tai chi and Pilates are also important because they build flexibility, balance and strength. A trained professional will guide you to follow a series of postures that are meant to develop lean muscles that allow you to be agile as well as improve your balance and reduce the risk of falls that could end in broken bones.
Hitting the gym more often can help you fight heart disease and hypertension. Being active increases levels of high-density lipoprotein or 'good' cholesterol and reduces unhealthy disease-causing triglycerides. It can also keep a range of health problems at bay, including diabetes, stroke, certain types of cancer and arthritis.
Working out regularly also helps boost energy, as it helps improve the body's function by providing more oxygen to fuel your body's cells. The result is lesser aches and pains and more strength and vitality to carry out the day's activities.
(By Dr Harold Vanderschmidt, Specialist Orthopedic Surgeon, and Dr Faisal Hayat Khan, Chief Physiotherapist at Burjeel Hospital for Advanced Surgery)