For most, impact exercise is a good thing. The more force you apply to your bones, the stronger they become. Unfortunately, the vast majority of the population is physically falling apart due to being sedentary, overweight, and all around just plain horrible to ourselves.
To be fair, many have legitimate joint and bone injuries, or are recovering from surgeries that also require them to stick to low and no impact modes of exercises. There is no shame in that. Low or no impact doesn’t have to mean taking it easy- it just means working out differently. You can get just as intense of a workout while still being mindful of your limitations.
Low Impact Cardio
To determine if something is high impact, ask yourself if your feet leave the floor, and how hard they come back in contact with it. Your bones and joints are required to absorb the shock, and the impact of this can be too much for many.
There are two things I’ve learned since moving into my new home.
1. I had no problem meeting my step goal from Miss Courtney Crozier’s summer challenge since I now have 3 sets of stairs to go up and down all day.
2. The creaking noise I’m hearing is not from my stairs, it’s from my knees.
I’m not sure what caused it: whether it’s my years of sports playing goalie and catcher in high school or rugby in college. It could be the stress on my body from the extra 120 pounds of weight that I had less than a year ago. Maybe I’m just getting, dare I say it, … getting old??
The good news is I’m not in pain…yet. However, this could be the warning signs of something greater and as a health care professional I should not be ignoring things. I am considering taking some supplements to help lubricate my joints like I’m the tin man in the Wizard of Oz.
Are you bad to your bones? There is a growing trend in the United States and Canada: calcium and vitamin D deficiency. Bone mass reaches its peak around age thirty so calcium and vitamin D are critical in helping you to prevent breaks or fractures down the road. As important as strong muscles are to your overall health, bones are what hold us together. Otherwise we’d just be a puddle on the ground. I’m hoping I can shed some light on all the benefits that calcium and vitamin D have to offer.
What is vitamin D and why do I need it?
Vitamin D is key in helping to produce strong bones. It also helps absorb calcium from the intestines so that is why you find so many products with the two in combo. The current recommendation depends on age, but for a woman age 18-30 you are looking at around 600 internal units (IUs) per day. Our bodies naturally convert vitamin D into a usable form from midday sun (between 10 am and 2 pm). People like me who live in northern parts of the world and get to see old man winter usually do not get enough midday sun to make our own vitamin D.
I will never forget the day I saw an elderly woman fall on the sidewalk in front of me. She fractured her wrist and I saw where the bone had punctured the skin. I vowed, then and there, to always, always take care of my bones. I take my calcium every day, along with Vitamin D and Magnesium. In addition to those supplements, though, bones need weight bearing exercise in order to stay strong.
“The exercise must place a load on the bone that’s heavy enough and different enough to stimulate a bone response,” says Robyn Stuhr, American Council on Exercise spokesperson and clinical exercise physiologist. Osteoporosis, or weakening of the bones, most commonly afflicts elderly women, but 20 percent of diagnosed cases are in males and osteoporosis occurs in people in every age. The most commonly affected bones are the spine, hip and wrist and thankfully, those are areas that can easily be strengthened.
It’s important for everyone to get enough calcium, but women are especially at risk for calcium deficiency, which can lead to osteoporosis and decrease bone health later in life. Even though there is calcium in many of our favorite foods, it can still be difficult to meet the recommended daily allowance for the important mineral.
Dairy products provide calcium, but people with dairy allergies, lactose intolerance and vegans need to look to other food sources to fill their calcium needs. Foods high in calcium include: almonds, broccoli, spinach, cooked kale, canned salmon with the bones, sardines and tofu.