Monthly Archives: November 2011

Exercise and Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis happens when there is too much bone loss. The human skeleton is made up of 206 bones and without them the human body would not have the ability to sit, stand, or move. Bones are made of two essential minerals calcium and phosphorus. In the center of bones is marrow that produces blood cells. Throughout life the body is constantly losing old bone while making new bone. With age the rate of formation of new bone decreases. By midlife the rate of bone loss increases especially for menopausal women. Osteopenia is determined when a bone density test is low, but not low enough to have Osteoporosis. It is possible for someone to never have had normal bone density based on genetics, size, or certain diseases. It is only after a second bone density test when it will be determine whether or not the body is actually losing bone.

If someone has been told that their bone density test is low it is time to take the necessary steps to improve your bone health. Avoiding excessive alcohol and not smoking is recommended. Eating healthy and limiting the amount of caffeine is also important for healthy bones. Calcium in the amount of 1,000 to 1,200 mg and Vitamin D between 400-2,000 IU’s is the recommended amount. Supplements should be taken as directed by a health care provider.

Exercise is a key ingredient for keeping bones strong and healthy. Starting an exercise program can increase your muscle strength, improve your balance and helps avoid falls. Bones get stronger and harder when you challenge them by impact. There are two types of exercises that are beneficial for building bone and improving bone density. These are weight-bearing exercises and muscle strengthening exercises. Weight bearing exercises are exercises that you perform against gravity when you are upright. They can be high or low impact activities. High impact exercises should not be perform by someone who has been diagnosed with osteoporosis and are at high risk for fractures. Low impact exercises would be more suitable. Physical activity will help improve and maintain good posture to limit the amount of kyphosis. One of the most important things about body mechanics and posture is alignment. Alignment refers to how the head, shoulders, spine, hips, knees and ankles relate and line up with each other. Proper alignment of the body puts less stress on the spine and helps you have good posture.

Dancing, jogging/running, tennis, hiking, jump roping are examples of high impact activities. Elliptical, stair master, walking on treadmill or outside would be examples of low impact exercises. Strengthening exercises can be done by lifting weight, using resistance bands, weight machines or using your own body weight. Yoga and Pilates can help improve balance, strength, and flexibility. Other activities that are good for bone health are swimming, bicycling indoors/outdoors, water aerobics, deep water walking, and stretching exercises. Someone with osteoporosis should be instructed by a knowledgeable provider, since some positions may not be safe to perform. Forward head posture, bending forward from the waist, twisting to the point of strain, anything that causes you to reach too far, are examples of unsafe movements for someone with osteoporosis. Sit ups should be avoided when you have osteoporosis.

It’s never too late to start exercising. It is important at a young age to begin instilling health habits that will keep bones healthy throughout your life time. Exercise creates a sense of well-being.

by: Rita Zimmermann, LPTA/CLT



It’s A Small World After All…A Tale of Three Hippies

It was the best of times (recall when we did what we wanted without being told NO by our bodies?); it is the worst of times. Okay, it isn’t the worst, but when our bodies start dictating what we can and can’t do, it seems the worst. Something must be done!

On April 13th, I had an appointment with orthopedist, Dr. Gregory Martin (Performance Orthopedics of the Palm Beaches, Boynton Beach) to discuss my ever aching hips.

On April 14th, Lana Mayer met with Dr. Martin about her medical condition. On May  6th, Maxine Herold met with Dr. Martin to discuss her hip problem. Little did we know  that we would become the medical talk of Bellaggio.

Word spreads fast in Bellagio. At the Memorial Day dance, I heard about two other people who were having hip replacement surgery the following week. That didn’t mean much to me as many people are having one procedure or another at one time or another. Six degrees of separation doesn’t exist here.  It’s more like one degree (Okay, maybe two).  Everyone knows someone who’s having a procedure and, if they don’t, they know someone who knows someone who…etc.

Lana and Maxine know each other from tennis. I “knew” the ladies, but didn’t really “know” them until we met at a pre-surgery prep and workshop on June 1st. It was then that the three of us realized the coincidence in having all our surgeries set for June 6th: Maxine’s at 5:30 am, mine at 6:30 am and Lana’s at 9:30 am.  Each surgery took about an hour after which we were settled into our luxurious private rooms at JFK. It’s private if you disregard all the medical staff that come in-uninvited-at all hours of the day and night. If you want a good night’s sleep, stay away from hospitals.

On day two, we passed each other in the halls as we began our physical therapy. Considering that we had major the day before, we were getting around pretty well albeit with the help of a physical therapist and lots of, at least in my case, drugs.  We would visit each others’ rooms even though it was against regulations (something about infectious diseases). Lana and Maxine were discharged on day three, me on day four (maybe I had better insurance coverage).

Lana and I had the same visiting nurse, Linda, and “physical therapist”, Fernando (I promised both that I would mention their names). Linda administered my daily injection (I’m a “wuss” and couldn’t and wouldn’t do it myself) and Fernando began what would be weeks of physical therapy. We called each other to monitor our progress and met every two weeks at the cafe to visualize our progress. Considering what we went through, we were doing pretty well.

 Our PT continued at the Fitness Center with Bellaggio’s own “physical terrorist,”  Kathleen. The three of us were often seen in the pool doing our exercises together. We  would encourage each other to keep going and, quite frankly, working out together made  it more like fun than work.

So here we are, ten weeks removed from our surgeries. Maxine and Lana hope to be  back  on the tennis courts soon, and me…back to feeling 65 again. On the lighter side,  you have    to experience an official TSA patdown. What a thrill!! Are you a candidate for  hip  replacement surgery? Want some advice or encouragement? Talk to us:  The Three  Hippies  of Bellaggio!

Featured  in the Ballagio Newsletter                                                                                                                                                                                  Written by: Jeff Robins