When our ancestors invented farming, they didn’t realize that doing so would eventually put future generations of humans at high risk for weakened bones. Health researchers warn that today’s modern technology is pushing us even faster toward this outcome. Read on to learn why and what you can do to counter technology’s effect on your bones.
Your Bones: At High Risk for Fragility Syndrome
Technology, and all our modern conveniences, is great but it’s caused us to lead progressively more sedentary lifestyles. As a result we don’t move throughout our day a fraction of what we used to in the days when we lived as “hunter-gatherers”. Before farming was invented, humans had 20% more bone mass than we do today.
But, when some enterprising humans figured out how to create a food supply from farming, our bone strength decreased significantly. And fractures started occurring more frequently. It was initially thought that farming created dietary changes that lead to weakened bones. But, modern day scientists have now ruled that out. Instead, they’ve firmly implicated the beginning of increasingly sedentary lifestyles as the culprit.
And in the last 50 to 100 years, as our technology has progressed at leaps and bounds, sedentary activity has also increased. As a result, human bones have been growing weaker and weaker. And the occurrence of fractures has also been growing. Those of us who study bones have even developed a name for this process…fragile bone syndrome.
Simply put, humans were not designed to sit idle as much of the day as we currently do. Sitting at our computers for work, or recreation (what doctors now term “screen time”), driving cars, watching television, etc. We just physically move much less, and do less, than we used to because we don’t have to. Technology is doing it for us. That’s why fragile bone syndrome is affecting more and more people today.
But it doesn’t have to. Bone researchers have concluded that regular movement, and a specific type of weight-bearing exercise, is key in preventing fragile bone syndrome. It can keep your bones strong enough to prevent osteoporosis and debilitating fractures.
Impact Loading: The Key to Fighting Fragile Bone Syndrome
Researchers out of the University of Cambridge recently did a study on the human bone and its weakening effects that have been ongoing since farming was created. They reported that there was no reason why modern man couldn’t regain the bone strength that we used to have way back then. It all depends on how much you’re willing to challenge your bones with certain impact loading type exercise.
Impact loading exercise is movement that puts frequent and intense stress on bones. It actually causes minor damages, like tiny tears, in the inner bone mesh. When your body repairs this damage, it stimulates your bone tissues to strengthen themselves making them less prone to future damage.
Impact loading type exercise is where your foot continuously impacts the ground, or a floor, such as:
3. Most field and floor sports (baseball, basketball, football, soccer, etc)
4. Jumping rope.
5. Aerobic class type exercise like stair stepping, Tae Bo, vigorous dancing
6. Hiking up hills.
7. Cross-country skiing.
Impact loading exercise can also be any exercise routine where you have to support your own body weight in 3-dimensional space as in:
1. Weight lifting.
3. TRX suspension trainer
Doing any of the above impact loading type exercise for just 20 minutes, 3 times a week, will help keep your hip, spine and leg bones healthy throughout your entire life. They’ll help you ward off osteoporosis and dangerous hip fractures.
But you’ll also want to do some impact loading exercise for your arms and upper body. These can include:
1. Wall or knee push-ups. If you choose to do a wall “push up” (it’s really a push-in), keep your feet as far away from the wall as you can safely, comfortably position yourself. This creates more impact loading on your arms.
Doing a knee push-up consists of doing a modified push-up from a kneeling position. Place the palms of your hands on the floor in front of you, turning your fingertips toward each other to get the most loading. But, if you feel strain in your shoulders, turn your fingertips further out.
2. Standing Squat with Bicep Curl: Start with a 10 lb weight in each hand. Eventually progress to a heavier one that will still allow you to do the exercise in a stable position. Holding the weights in each hand, squat down, but not too deep, then curl the weights up towards your elbow. Then stand, and let your hands return to their starting position. Repeat 15 repetitions.
We can’t stop technology from advancing. But, with a little effort put into getting enough impact loading exercise, you can stop your bones from becoming progressively weaker, especially as you get older. Of course, you still need to make sure you’re getting the right amounts of bone-building nutrients like calcium, magnesium, zinc, collagen, vitamin C, vitamin D, and vitamin K. Bone building exercise and nutrition work hand in hand to prevent fragile bone syndrome from affecting you.