Elderly bones fracture easily because over time, bone tissue becomes thin and brittle. Osteoporosis, the most common type of bone disease, occurs when the body doesn’t form enough new bone, or when old bone is absorbed by the body.
While weight training, cardiovascular conditioning, stretching and balance exercises reduce the likelihood of bone fractures in people with osteoporosis, Jazzercise Founder and CEO Judi Sheppard Missett says in order to promote life long skeletal health, it’s critical to establish physical activity habits in childhood.
A study reported in Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews, shows that children who participate in higher levels of physical activity have greater bone mass growth. Impact loading through physical activity in childhood can decrease risk by 60 percent, and is one of the most powerful preventive strategies in the fight against osteoporosis.
Built to Last
We build the most bone when we are young, and reach peak bone mass in our late twenties and early thirties. Researchers found that one year after reaching peak bone mass, males who were active in childhood had 17 percent higher total body bone mass than their peers, and females were higher by 9 percent.
Window of Opportunity
Data indicates that nearly 40 percent of total young adult bone mass is achieved during the two years before, and two years after accelerated linear growth (when an item increases the exact same amount over the same time period i.e. if a bone is two inches long today, 4 inches long tomorrow, etc) . This means there is a specific period when the human body builds bone faster and better than any other time. The skeleton’s response to loading is optimized during pre-puberty and early puberty stages.
Activity Type Matters
Jumping, running and competitive racquet sports are the most effective at improving bone mass in the spine and hips. Studies found that girls who ran two days a week for 75 minutes had up to 10 percent more bone mineral content than girls who did not.
To build hip strength and structure, all youth should participate in forty minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity every day. One hundred jumps from a 2-foot height, three times a week will build bone mass and structure. Participating in sports throughout childhood and adolescence will maximize bone mineral growth.
Long-term studies are needed to determine if the intentional bone building during childhood lasts through adulthood. If skeletal strength is proven to persist well into our thirties, we can add osteoporosis to the list of chronic conditions preventable through childhood physical activity.
Judi Sheppard Missett, who turned her love of jazz dance into a worldwide dance exercise phenomenon, founded the Jazzercise dance fitness program in 1969. She has advanced the business opportunities of women and men in the fitness industry by growing the program into an international franchise business that today, hosts a network of 7,800 instructors teaching more than 32,000 classes weekly in 32 countries.
The workout program, which offers a fusion of jazz dance, resistance training, Pilates, yoga, cardio box and Latin style movements, has positively affected millions of people worldwide. Benefits include increased cardiovascular endurance, strength, and flexibility, as well as an overall "feel good" factor. Additional Jazzercise programs include Junior Jazzercise, Jazzercise Lite and Personal Touch. For more information on Jazzercise go to jazzercise.com or call (800)FIT-IS-IT or (760)476-1750.