Ward off osteoporosis with Pilates!

reformer1I am light-skinned, with blonde hair with a small build, so am accustomed to being told I have a high risk for osteoporosis. I also know my mother suffered from this. She was a Massachusetts farm girl, and very healthy and active up to the age of 88. However by then she had the tell-tale dowager’s hump, and the last year of her life she would lie down often during the day to rest her painful back. By rights I could look forward to this same scenario, except that I have some strategies to avoid this! Metabolic typing has shown that magnesium is more important for my bone health than calcium, so I make sure I get lots of magnesium-rich foods – whole wheat bread, almonds and cashews in particular, plus dark green leafy vegetables. In 2003, I had a baseline  bone density scan that showed average readings for my age. In 2006, as therapy for a low back problem and painful sciatica, I took up Pilates.  This exercise regime strengthens the abdominal muscles, thereby protecting the back.   Two of my three weekly sessions are done on the reformer, a moveable platform with variable spring tension and ropes for the hands or feet which simulates a weight-bearing full body workout. Today the sciatica is largely gone, and so are the pain meds and cortisone shots! I’ve even thrown away my orthotics as I have my arches back too! Best of all, my follow-up scan last month shows my bone density has stablized at greater than 75% of women my age, I am at low risk for osteoporosis and can likely maintain this by nutrition and exercise alone.  It really is exciting what you can do for your own health, and I am very motivated to keep at it!

If you’d like to learn more, visit http://consortiumlibrary.org/aml/publications/newsletters/Dec06.pdf