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Is sitting the new smoking?

A broken collarbone was one of the best things ever to happened to me.

Am I odd?

When I was a kid having a plaster-of-paris cast ,on a broken bone, was a symbol of courage; a badge of honour; and something to be deeply envious of. I so wanted my friends writing on my arm or leg shield. Silly messages that would be (some of them) sawn in two by the doctor to extrapolate the slightly shrunken limb, the forever displayed in a bedroom. So I hung off, jumped onto, balanced upon, swung, hopped, skated, bounced, flew, pogo-ed, danced, handstand-ed, tumbled, skipped and cartwheeled at EVERY opportunity. Oh and I never asked permission for these activities. None was needed. These were not special events , to be driven to on a Saturday. These were life.

Now in my fifth decade, I am confronted more and more frequently, with evidence which could make even simple physical activity for me a no-no. As a woman, in Ireland (UK, USA, Australia) I have from RIGHT NOW a one-in-three chance of developing an osteoporotic fracture, and after the age of 60 that becomes a one-in-two chance. ” In the USA osteoporosis is ranked the 10th major illness with the top 5% highest cost Medicare beneficiaries”.(national osteoporosis foundation 2014).

Higher than tobacco related illness.

How did that happen?

In childhood our skeletons regenerate at a rapid rate, completely renewing every two years. New evidence appears to support the theory that we all have a bone banking period, when our adult bone density is laid down. The findings are not complete, but it suggests this happens age 10 to 13. During that time AND from then on we”use it or loose it” and after the age of 25, no more lump sum deposits can be made. Although, we can keep our bone balance at a healthy level.

As adults, to do this, we need three things. 1. Variety in load-bearing movement, 2. Calcium 3. Vitamin D.

In movement terns that means, standing balance, plank, all fours, side plank, walking, running, dancing, yoga, Pilates, Tai chi, squats, & lunges. As movement educators it means that we include these positions in ALL of our classes and for the over 50’s we adhere to safe practice for bone health- flexion, lateral- flexion and rotation severely curtailed with a bias towards balance, extension and four point poses.

For our children it means giving them a healthy bone bank account by allowing and encouraging active, complex and challenging play, OUTSIDE (vitamin D). And of course calcium.

In the end, a very tame bike ride lead to me being hit by a car and breaking my collar bone . Just a sling! Thank you parents for my inheritance of a very healthy bone-bank balance, even if I never got that cast.


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