A stumbling block in old age: brittle bones. They are responsible for orthopedic fractures and linked to potentially devastating falls. Orthopedic experts are firm: behavior early in life can keep you from becoming an old softie.

“If you think about your bone, it’s actually alive. It has a blood supply, it has a very important function in the body, regulating calcium and vitamin D. It’s very important that we keep our bones healthy,” says Dr. David Eichten, who is an orthopedic surgeon on medical staff of Lee Memorial Health System.

In the same way we work our muscles, bones need attention too. And they respond to activity.

“Your bone responds to stress, so when there’s stress on the bones that’s when you get an increase in bone density. So any weight-bearing activity, exercise, is going to be very good,” says Dr. Eichten.

Long-term studies show that strength training at a young age prevents fractures in old age. There is an optimal period for bulking bone, especially important in women.

“Up until your mid-20s most of the bone mass is accumulated. After that, there’s a steady decline and especially in women after menopause we see a big drop. Which has kind of been the target of the osteoporotic medication,” says Dr. Eichten.

Jogging, running and weight lifting have high impact - the youngsters studied averaged 40 minutes of movement a day. The notion of motion carrying their bones into adulthood and beyond.

View More Health Matters video segments at leememorial.org/healthmatters/

Lee Memorial Health System in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of medical care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For nearly a century, we’ve been providing our community with everything from primary care treatment to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries.

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