I suggested she was “amazing” because of her latest bone density scan results (they are AMAZING) – here is her reply via email:
“I am not amazing Annabel – as I may have told you, I am a breast cancer survivor, and the battle never leaves you. I worked in an office for 43 years (and enjoyed my work immensely) but sitting at a desk and working long days, left little time for exercise (I used to do what I could, when I could) and made every effort to walk many miles with my husband at weekends.
When I moved down here, 7 or 8 years ago now, my medical care was transferred to an Oncology consultant at Southampton. (He is such a dish, I sometimes forget why I am there!) – but seriously, because of the anti-cancer drug I need to take, one of the first things he suggested was a Bone Density Scan. These are required every 2 or 3 years, the first of which showed an ‘ok’ result, considering my age, height and weight etc. (But I am not one to ever use age as an excuse) – so I have always tried my hardest to improve the situation. I was already attending your classes at the time of the second scan – the result was ‘ok, but could be better’.
The third scan (August this year) – which therefore followed a much longer period of sustained exercise in total, clearly paid off – a significant improvement…! The consultant did also say that apart from exercise, the other necessary elements are a decent diet and sunshine (for Vitamin D) – “Okay” I said, “so I need to head back to the Caribbean then?” “Yes” he said “but not in the Hurricane season!” Absolutely.”
So when this happens – when the lovely Glynis Austin who we all love and know as Princess (69 years young) tells me that there has been significant improvement since the last scan, especially with her hips (that the density now compares with that of an adult male aged 20-30 years!), I’m inspired!! Princess has been attending my Total (body) Conditioning classes for approx. 3 years. And she was happy for me to share her success story with you. I really hope you’ll agree that it is a superb accomplishment.
Bone Density – it’s so important for us all – some facts below:
Bone density is the amount of bone tissue in your bones.
Exercise plays a key role in preserving bone density as you age.
With our Total Conditioning sessions and other types of activity where we use weights or focus on functional strength – the exercise being performed makes your muscles pull on your bones – it’s called weight-bearing exercise.
At Shape Up we hope that you’ll make exercise a regular part of your life. It helps keep your bones strong and lowers your risk of osteoporosis and fractures as you get older.
Other forms of beneficial exercises to consider if a Total Conditioning session is not your thing:
• Brisk walks, jogging, playing tennis, dancing, or other weight-bearing activities such as aerobics and other sports
• Weight training, using weight machines or free weights
Weight-bearing exercises also:
• Increase bone density even in young people
• Help preserve bone density in women who are approaching menopause
To protect your bones, do weight-bearing exercises 3 or more days a week for a total of over 90 minutes a week.
If you are older, it’s probably best to steer away from high-impact aerobics as this type of exercise may increase your risk of fractures – opt for low impact aerobic exercise instead.
Low-impact exercises may not help bone density as much as weight bearing exercise but such exercise can improve your balance and lower your risk of falling and breaking a bone. And, even though they are good for your heart, swimming and biking don’t increase bone density.
If you do not get enough calcium, or if your body does not absorb enough calcium from the foods you eat, your body may not make enough new bone.
Vitamin D helps your body absorb enough calcium.
If you are new to exercise then please talk to your G.P before beginning an exercise programme.
De Paula, FJA, Black DM, Rosen CJ. Osteoporosis and bone biology. In: Melmed S, Polonsky KS, Larsen PR, Kronenberg HM, eds. Williams Textbook of Endocrinology. 13th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 29.
National Osteoporosis Foundation. Clinician’s guide to prevention and treatment of osteoporosis. Updated November 11, 2015.