View Full Version : Osteoporosis/body armor

11-05-2006, 09:15 AM
This has not been a good year, as for the first time health problems have seriously affected my riding, I've only gotten 2500 miles in this year, my lowest total milage in 5 years. I took another fall just before my husband's surgery. The radiographs showed a slight, non-displaced fracture, but also that I had fractured my thumb on my PMC ride. (Yes, both the ER doctor and radiologist that reviewed the film then missed it.) Fortunately, I was very good (for me) about wearing my splint and it healed with pretty good alignment. While my Primary doc was looking at my results, she asked about my kidney stones & then just as I was leaving she asked about my bone density test. It seems that I have just crossed the line from osteopenic to osteoporotic in my hips, although my spine is still only osteopenic. Now I have my first experience of 2 health problems, with some contradictory indications for treatment. This does make me feel old.

I am considering getting some body armor or HipGuards for riding. Has anyone tried them? Do they shift much, can you ride in them for 6 or 8 hours? What are the best brands for women?

11-05-2006, 09:40 AM

Do you lift weights? Can you add that?

I'd be more concerned with getting some weight bearing excersise in there too than the body armor. Internal body armor you might say :p

11-05-2006, 02:32 PM
Yes, I do lift weights daily at work, I also walk 8 to 10 K steps at work, and I have been taking Fosamax for 2.5 yrs. Prevention has failed, the horse is out of the barn, I now have full blown osteoporosis. I am really afraid I may break my hip at work when some big dog bounces me around the room. That would be the end of my career and possibly the end of cycling as well. If I'm to be proactive now, I have to be thinking about protecting my hips both at work and riding.

11-05-2006, 06:54 PM
I have osteoporosis also. Luckily the only bone I have broken has been a minimally displaced rib fracture after a mountain-biking mishap. I have landed on my hips a LOT :( , and have come away with colorful bruises and hematomas. I definitely think about the fracture risks.

I am wearing some hip pads most of the time when mountain biking now. I got some liner shorts that have some 3/8 inch closed cell foam in them. The original shorts were by Six-Six-One, but the shorts did not fit right. So I took the foam pads out and sewed some fleece pockets on the inside of one of my older pairs of shorts and have been using the foam pads in them. They work pretty well and have cushioned a few direct hits. What I really need, though is some kind of flexible, breathable foam that I could dip my entire body into before heading out on the trails! As my BF says, I am one "technicolor Bay-Bee" :rolleyes:

In addition to Fosamax and calcium (1200mg a day), I also try to get at least 1000 units of vitamin D daily. Research is showing that vitamin D may be more important than previously thought for preventing bone loss. I need to do more weight-bearing exercise, also. And of course, improve my riding skills so I spend less time on the ground!

11-06-2006, 10:07 AM
At what age (or is it more based on bodyweight, family history, or ???) is it recommended to start being screened for bone density? I'm 45 and slender, but I still menstruate regularly. I also run (not long distances -- 2 miles or so at a time) on the treadmill and trails a couple of times a week, mountain bike (irregularly lately), do long hikes on weekends, and lift weights a couple of times a week (nothing too intense and more upper body than low). My primary-care doc hasn't mentioned bone screening yet, and I didn't think to ask at my last yearly physical (August). Is this something I should have done fairly soon -- or not until I reach menopause or age 50 or ???


P.S. Only broken bone I've ever had was pelvic fractures from a road cycling accident in April 2005. I hit the pavement at a pretty high speed right on my ilium, though, and no mention was ever made by my orthopedic surgeon that my bone density may have had anything to do with causing the fractures.

11-06-2006, 01:38 PM
But, if you are 45 and a cyclist it probably would not be a bad time to start.

A year or so ago, there were articles out that endurance cyclists, including men, should be very careful about their bone density; apparently there were some studies where even though you are fit, you don't put enough pressure on the bones, not weight bearing enough, and you are depleting your body a lot with the endurance training - hence - low bone density.

It is also a good idea if you are a cyclist to help your bones by doing some weight lifting or weight bearing exercise so that you are building your bones, take calcium etc.

Also, I'm no expert, but I've heard that even if you have lower bone densities that you shouldn't give up on the weight bearing exercise, you can help your bones from degenerating as quickly and I've even heard you can stop the loss from increasing.

I'm 46 and had a bone density test at the age of 42. It wasn't because I'm good at having tests, but because my husband is an x-ray tech and he was using me as a guinea pig on his company's new bone density machine! Free tests! Yeah!

11-06-2006, 04:35 PM
At what age (or is it more based on bodyweight, family history, or ???) is it recommended to start being screened for bone density? I'm 45 and slender, but I still menstruate regularly. I also run (not long distances -- 2 miles or so at a time) on the treadmill and trails a couple of times a week, mountain bike (irregularly lately), do long hikes on weekends, and lift weights a couple of times a week (nothing too intense and more upper body than low). My primary-care doc hasn't mentioned bone screening yet, and I didn't think to ask at my last yearly physical (August). Is this something I should have done fairly soon -- or not until I reach menopause or age 50 or ???


Generally speaking, as long as you are menstruating you are probably producing enough estrogen to prevent serious calcium loss from your bones. You are still in the category where you may be able to keep adding with supplements and the exercise you are doing, although that is unlikely. Most women stop adding to their bones in their twentys, and start to have a mild loss of density in their thirties. The biggest loss is in the 2 or 3 years after menopause. You are small, which increases your risk, but you may have offset that with your active lifestyle. Still it would be worthwhile mentioning it at your next physical, especially if you are having any perimenepausal symptoms. It is good to see where you are starting from, and to have a baseline to compare to a couple years after menopause. Keep in mind that many health insurance companies only allow scans every 2 years.

11-06-2006, 05:49 PM
i would definitely encourage a baseline bone density test. late august i crashed and broke my arm at the shoulder joint in 3 spots as well as a fracture at the base of my thumb--and frankly, it just wasn't that bad a crash. i've been taking fosamax or other meds for bone density since 2002 when i had my first scan. *and* i'm still menstruating.

can't necessarily count on orthopedists to suggest testing. i'd asked them re in the past and their responses were essentially "whatever." fortunately i had a physiatrist who thought my fracture history was suspicious and sent me for a scan over 4 years ago. would have been nice to know whether i'm losing bone in perimenopause or never had good bone density to start w.

calcium, vitamin d, and weight-bearing exercise for all...

11-06-2006, 06:45 PM
The reason why doctors might not be encouraging you to have the test taken is that, despite all the pushing done by drug companies, the test is still very controversial, and the benefits from the drugs not so certain. Bone fractures may be a problem, but testing bone density and taking drugs to try to improve it might not be the solution we'd hope it to be.

I'm sorry this is not very helpful. But I taught I'd share this piece of information. If you are concerned about fractures, you should talk to your doctor about it.

11-06-2006, 08:18 PM

A good indicator of whether or not you need to be tested for bone density is your genetic history. If you've got family members who have/had osteoporosis/ostepenia, then you might want to be tested. I requested a bone desity test 4 years ago. (I was 47 then and not yet pre-menopausal.) My maternal grandmother had severe osteoporosis, and passed away at age 96 after having fallen and broken her pelvis. My mother was diagnosed with severe osteoporosis at age 70, despite leading a very active life, walking and lifting weights almost every day. So my genetics did not look promising! Which is why my doc was willing to order the test. As it turned out, I do indeed suffer from osteopenia (pre-cursor to the most severe osteoporosis.) I am now on fosomax. I've taken calcium supplements for years! I know cycling can actually be detrimental to my bones, so I try and run a couple times a week. Jumping rope is also a great activity for bone-building. Walking may help a bit, but it is the impact of harder landing that stresses the bones and helps keep them strong. Anyway, sorry to go on so........ it's a condition that easily hides itself. If you have a history in your family, I'd recommend having a test. If not, you may have to wait until your doctor is willing to order a test. Or choose to pay for it yourself. Tough decision for anyone.


11-07-2006, 04:26 PM
This month I was told to get a bone density test. I guess I should have had one sooner...but I always felt so strong ,and healthy. Anyway, I went through menopause at the age of 40 ,I have been on HRT for 13 years. I ran for 3 years ,and did the Portland Marathon last year. I'm a thin build (125 lbs). Well I just found out 3 days ago, I have ostepenia in my hips. I was SHOCKED as I have fallen on the pavement from running several time ,and never broke anything. I have a lot to learn ,and measures to take to try ,and stop it. Fosamax has a lot of bad side effects. I'm in the dis belief stage right (when did I become my grandmother). I always felt so healthy ,and indestructible. I have a doctor appointment tomorrow ,to try ,and find some solutions. ; (( Im 52.:confused:

11-07-2006, 06:26 PM
Suzie, you sure don't look 52 in your photo! Dang, whatever you're doing, keep doing it.

11-07-2006, 06:48 PM
For everyone reading this thread, there is an excellent book titled "Bike For Life - How to Ride to 100" by Roy M. Wallack and Bill Katovsky. Chapter 9 is titled "Cycling and Osteoporosis." It is a really good chapter and tells how many famous cycling athletes had to retire from the sport early because of severe osteoporosis. The authors describe the disease, how it may occur, how to prevent getting it, or how to keep the disease from getting worse. An example of one athlete is cited, and that is Tammy Jacques, a mountain bike champion who had to retire at the age of 32 because of severe bone loss. She worked with weight training, and took Fosamax, and a year later she had improved her bone density by 10%. Of course, it may be because she was young enough for her body to still build bone density.

This is just a personal comment by me. It is about cheese and dairy products. I am someone who has struggled with being overweight. During the years that I lost weight, I always paid attention to my nutrition, knowing what is in my family history, which includes the females getting osteoporosis. Everywhere, in books and on television, the experts say don't eat cheese because it is too high fat and too many calories. I always had the wisdom to realize that cheese is high in calcium, and made cheese or dairy products a part of my daily calories. Sometimes I wonder how many females have more severe bone loss because they considered many dairy products to be too caloric, and thus didn't eat enough dairy, and thus didn't get enough calcium over the long-run.

I am in the process of signing up for my bone density test. Suzie's test results shocked me, because if you met Suzie in person like I have, you would say, "wow, what a young beautiful healthy vital woman." Honestly, Suzie looks around age 40, not almost age 53.

And my mom had it and an older sister just got the diagnosis a few months ago. So I had better get my bone density test now, and find out what is what before it is too late.

11-08-2006, 03:42 AM
Some interesting comments on dairy products and osteoporosis. I grew up on a dairy farm, and for about 25 years drank whole, unpastureized, Holstein milk. This is the kind that the cream rises to the top, and has to be mixed into the milk before you can drink it. I'm sure this sounds nasty to a lot of people, and I currently drink 1% milk.

However, after the urging of my OB-GYN, I had a bone density test about a year ago, and it was off the charts (in a good way)! The results were more like the bone density of a 25 year old, and I am almost 53 and 2 years post-menopausal. I was happy, but not really surprised.

I think that a lot of women give up cheese and dairy products because of the high fat and calories, as Darcy said.

Bad JuJu
11-08-2006, 05:38 AM
Hey Bambu, I remember that milk. Of course, I was a city kid, so our milk came in glass bottles, not straight from the cow, but it still had the cream on the top and you had to give the bottle a vigorous shake before opening and decanting the thick, white, delicious milk. My brother and I drank that stuff like water.

I haven't had a bone density test in a couple of years, but my last one, when I had been in menopause for about a year, was excellent. I can't digest milk any longer, but I take calcium supplements and try to choose other foods high in calcium such as lowfat yogurt.

11-08-2006, 08:30 PM
Thanks for the info everyone, I am not menopausal yet but definately peri. I need to check with my dr on something else so I will throw this in too.
Osteoporosis scares the living daylights out of me. It can totally change a persons quality of life as they age.

11-09-2006, 03:48 AM
This is all great information - thanks! I do eat dairy, including a cup of yogurt daily, cheese, ice cream (not daily!), calcium-added oj, and leafy greens. I also take a calcium supplement. One of the main reasons I added running to my repertoire was for the bone-loss-prevention aspects. I don't ride on the road much at all anymore but mostly do higher impact activities, like hiking with a pack, etc. so hopefully I am okay for now, but at my next physical I will definitely bring this up with my doctor. She's a very progressive woman, and a slender athlete so is likely very well aware of this issue. I don't have a strong history of osteoporosis in my family, but I will get this checked out since I am in a higher-risk group due to being small. Thank goodness I don't smoke, at least!


11-09-2006, 07:52 AM
I went to the doctor yesterday ,and she said it although I have every risk factor in the book ,its also how I treated my body when I was in my 20s ,and 30s. I didn't exercise ,or eat properly. Yes ,in the past 4 years I have been a picture of health,but the damage was done long time ago. Plus I'm skinny with no extra fat to hold on to estrogen. The fact I went into early menopause certainly didn't help things. She is doing more test on me ,then will probably put me on Fosamax. She said it was very common for women over 50. I'm going to try ,and hang on to the bone density I have now ,and hope I can prolong this awful diagnoses.
:( :(

01-18-2007, 04:36 PM
well, I'm rejuvenating this thread.
I have eaten healthy my whole life, but as they say you can't beat genetics and my mother and sister both have been diagnosed with Osteoporosis, now me too.
My spine isn't too bad but my hips are right on the border, still Osteopenia. Great news from the dr today! I have to take fosomax.
My mother says it hasn't helped her a bit. :confused:
any of you ever see ANY improvement?
So weight bearing exercise; on my walks, I'll carry a backpack now?
and more lifting of weights. and I have to get back on that trampoline!
I am bummed.

01-18-2007, 04:51 PM
Hi Mimi,

My mom had OS severely in the years before her death and she died within a few days of breaking her hip. My oldest sister was diagnosed with it last year. My understanding is taking Fosamax, along with supplements, and the right type of exercise may allow the body to regain bone density, and thus add more calcium and minerals back into the bone. It doesn't happen overnight; it is a process that requires dedication and daily commitment.

I had my first bone density test in November. I was really sweating it, because of the family history for getting the disease. So much of it depends on what you were doing in your teens and 20s while the body was building bone density, and if you were a female engaged in low calorie yo-yo dieting, then odds are OS will be a problem later in life. However, I guess I was good during those years, because my tests came back as being at the very highest range of calcium and mineral density for a female in my age range.

Anyway, read up on the supplements. There is not only calcium with the vitamin D and magnesium, but there are now additional supplements that are proven effective in helping the body to restore bone density. The supplements should be taken twice a day with a meal, for higher absorbtion. Also, you need to have the doctor check your homocysteine levels, because there is a proven link to high homocysteine levels (which is a factor in cardio disease) and OS. You can google some of the key words and start reading some of the articles in the online medical data bases.


01-18-2007, 05:43 PM
So how do they test you for osteoporosis? I'm 46. Should I get it done?

01-18-2007, 06:44 PM
Hi Darcy
thanks for all the information. During my "formative years" as it were, I never dieted and I rarely drank soft drinks. I also never skipped meals. Unfortunately, I still have the thinning bones. I also have homocysteine levels that my doctor didn't like...

Kelownagirl, they do a bonescan.It's like a really low intensity xray; the technicians don't even leave the room the levels of radiation are so low.
they look at your back/spine and hips. There's another kind of test i've had done, where you stick your heel into a gizmo and it checks your bone density there. That's a cheaper test.

01-18-2007, 07:22 PM
Mimi, it might be your homocysteine levels then that are the primary factor. High homocysteine levels are a serious problem, so I hope you read up on it and ask your doctor how to lower the levels, if possible. My mother had extremely high homocysteine levels, and what it did to her, other than the OS, is it narrowed the veins and arteries into her brain, with the result of cerebral atrophy (shrinkage of the brain.) She was not tested for her homocysteine levels until after the dementia was obvious, and at that time it was given as an explanation for her strokes, cardiac and lung problems. Since high homocysteine levels can be genetic in a family, everyone in my family got tested. A brother who is only two years older than me had high levels like my mother, and during the years since he was tested, he has had numerous brain stem strokes, just like my mother had, and he is now mostly blind, is in the first stages of dementia, and is no longer able to work as a doctor; he is only age 55, and he was physically fit and of normal weight before the onset of the strokes, with healthy cholesterol and all other stroke factors being healthy, other than the high homocysteine levels.

Kelownagirl, if you have a history of OS in your family, you should get tested. At the minimum, a test will go into your medical records so that in future years and future tests there can be a comparison. If there is no history of OS, most doctors will wait until you are menopausal. But if there is a history of OS, you should get a test earlier in life, and have one every 5-10 years, being careful with your diet, exercise and supplement.


01-19-2007, 07:03 AM
The only thing I can find that supposedly lowers homocysteine levels is
taking b vitamins, specifically folic acid.
And I am taking them (now)

01-19-2007, 09:11 AM
That is why the homocysteine levels and B vitamins are linked to OS. The B vitamins assist in bone density, and at the same time lower homocysteine levels. However it is a long-term kind of thing, and the person needs to have had a balanced diet over the years that included all of the food groups. With regards to my brother, he started taking the folic acid and other B vitamins, and the homocysteine levels didn't come down enough. He increased his dosages, the months passed, and the homocysteine levels were still high. Then the brain stem strokes started. He didn't have enough time to get the homocysteines down by adding the B vitamins to his diet before he started experiencing the complications.

It is scary to have OS, or the precursors to OS. I really feel for you. I have been around people who had OS seriously, and when the fractures started, particularly in the spine, the pain was so intense they began to give up on life, and they died within a few years.

It is hard to remember what we were doing when we were in our teens and 20s. Mostly, OS is a function of diet and exercise during those years. How many of us had friends and were around people who were always on a restricted "diet" of some kind, and by restricted I mean major food groups were eliminated entirely or reduced to barely anything, like Atkins. The human body needs complete nutrition. The inner organs need all sorts of nutrients in order to function, particularly the heart. When a person goes on a diet that is too low in calories or is not endorsed by the medical community, and the result is the body doesn't get enough nutrients, then the body will draw the nutrients from the bones in order to keep the organs functioning. People think it is about body weight, that body weight is the indicator of health, and in reality it is the diet and exercise over the long-term that is the real indicator of health.

I was lucky. In my first year of college I took a nutrition course as a science requirement, and the knowledge I gained from that course was invaluable. I am referring to the year 1973 when what we knew about nutrition was much more primitive, but I went through that course and learned that females should never take their calories below 1200, that 1500 is best when dieting, and that one always eats three balanced meals from the all of the food groups. I think taking that course saved me from what so many females do, which is going on 800 calorie a day diets, or going on fad diets that eliminate entire food groups. In the years ahead of us, my prediction is we will see an increase of people with severe OS because of all of the people who have spent long periods of time on Atkins and other non-medically approved restrictive diets, and who thus starved their bodies of essential nutrients.


01-19-2007, 09:24 AM
Darcy, inactivity is probably what got me. And I remember vividly my diet and my life back then. When I was 18, I was living with a young man who had a doting mother. She was obsessed about his health, and he was sort of what you'd call now a slacker, so she decided to teach ME how to cook. She sent me all the Adele Davis books. I have thanked her many times over for teaching me about lovely vegetables and all sorts of good food.

You are probably right about the future of american health because of dieting. I figure when we're 80 we will be taking care of 30 - 50 year olds whose health has collapsed.

My grandmother broke her hip when she was 88 or 89 and then got up and walked. She wasn't going to let that hold her back. Unfortunately Lou Gehrig's got her 3 years later.

So I will put books in my back pack when i go for walks now!

01-21-2007, 05:59 AM
<<any of you ever see ANY improvement?>>

yes, i've been taking fosomax for approx 3.5 yrs and have seen some, albeit minor improvements. i've had no problems w side effects other than annoyance that i can't have my morning coffee for 30 minutes after i take it!

01-21-2007, 06:28 AM
MaryEllen, I just took my first pill today.
My mother saw no improvement.
Where did they get the great stats that they include with each pill packet???

01-21-2007, 07:46 AM
Most of the studies on Fosamax and Actonel and the other bisphosphonates look at the end point of fracture risk reduction. While you may not see a dramatic increase in bone density as measured by a Dexa scan, most of the reported studies show decreased hip and spine fractures. Many of us living in northern climates probably have decreased vitamin D levels, and that is something else you may want to ask your health care provider to check. It can be done with a simple blood test. I am trying to remember to take a daily vitamin D supplement of 1000 units as well as calcium 1200mg a day.

01-21-2007, 09:20 AM
<<any of you ever see ANY improvement?>>

yes, i've been taking fosomax for approx 3.5 yrs and have seen some, albeit minor improvements. i've had no problems w side effects other than annoyance that i can't have my morning coffee for 30 minutes after i take it!

:) Me!

I just had my dexascan before Christmas and I've had no changes in 2.5 years so my Dr. took me off Actonel!

It hasn't always been that way. At age 51 I fell off my mtn bike and broke my wrist. I had read that for woman in her early 50's a broken hip, wrist or ankle is a red flag for osteoporosis and should be checked. My Dr's kept telling me that my break was common for the type of fall I had and not to worry. Besides, I exercised, took calcium and was still on BC pills (which gave me extra hormones). My Dr. told me I was too young for a dexa scan and the insurance wouldn't pay for it.

However, my grandmother had a dowagers hump for as long as I could remember, my mom had her first break (wrist) in her early 50's, had broken both hips by the time she was 73 and had broken several other bones. She was taller than me and now barely came up to my shoulder. The Dr's said her bones were like "Styrofoam". About the time I was trying to get my first scan(my mom was about 85) she had a dexa scan. There were numerous fractures of her spine, her 7th vertebra had disintegrated and she was riddled with arthritis. So yes, I was worried that I was following in her footsteps.

I finally got tested and I had osteopenia in my spine. My Dr. was shocked! He put me on Actonel. BTW, the insurance payed for the test.

My second test a year later was very good so I waited another 2 years to get tested. That one was scary as I now had osteopenia in my hip as well in my spine. At that time I was on hrt as well as actonel.

In the fall of 04 I stopped taking hrt so I was really worried about the results of my latest dexa scan. I was quite surprised when the Dr's office came back with the good news, no changes, no more Actonel.

I'm not sure why I haven't had any changes in the last 3 years. Some thoughts are that I'm past the 5 year post menopausal mark in which bone loss is the most rapid, I increased my calcium and vitamin D intake, instead of lifting weights on machines I started doing more closed chain, ie, lunges, squats, and functional weight lifting, I now live in Colorado and am getting more sunlight than when I lived in the Midwest.

I'm just very glad that osteoporosis has been identified as a preventable disease and that our generation doesn't have to suffer the pain and disability of broken bones that the generation of women and men before us suffered.

01-21-2007, 09:27 AM
your post was excellent and informative.
It sounds like you are a combination of doing everything right after you found out about this.
I think i'll go back to my dr and have her check my Vit. D that's a good idea too, Wavedancer.

I am 55 and have not lost any height at all but my grandmother sure did by the time she was in her late 80's.

I hear these other drug names; Actonel, Boniva but I don't know anything about any of them. My Dr thinks that Fosamax is going to be available generically soon; which should really improve the price. THis first dose gave me Diarrhea
already so I am not sure I"m going to continue taking it.

thanks everyone, I appreciate hearing from other people about their experiences.

01-21-2007, 09:58 AM
Thanks Mimitabby,

My mom and grandmother's generation thought bone loss was part of old age. Now we know better. In fact, they didn't even know they were losing bone. My grandmother was a farm woman and a cow kicked her. Her dowager's hump and back pain were attributed to the kick from the cow!

I've been following osteoporosis since the early 80's when my mom's Dr. made the statement about her bones being like Styrofoam.

The National Osteopororosis Foundation has a very informative website,

Good luck with your research.

01-22-2007, 06:45 AM
for complete article go here:

GAINESVILLE, Fla. --- As the debate over the safety of hormone replacement therapy continues, University of Florida nurse researchers have shown in a small but promising study that a combination of vitamin supplements, exercise and weight training may provide postmenopausal women an alternate way to improve bone health and prevent osteoporosis.

In a UF study of postmenopausal women who were not taking hormone replacement therapy, those who participated in a regular exercise regimen that included weight training and took vitamin D and calcium showed significant improvements in bone density, strength and balance.

A growing body of evidence supports the benefits of exercise for the prevention of bone loss that commonly occurs with aging, but the latest findings are among the first to show exercise that includes resistance training can actually build bone-a result hormones have never achieved. Results from the preliminary study are described in the current issue of the journal Biological Research for Nursing.

“Vitamin D and calcium supplements can help slow down the loss of bone, and most hormone treatments can only stop future bone loss,” said James Jessup, the study’s principal investigator and an associate professor in UF’s College of Nursing who also is affiliated with UF’s Institute on Aging. “There is no drug out there that can cause the kind of improvement in bone density that was displayed in the research participants.”

Although the study was small, Jessup said the results are promising and likely will lead to expanded research efforts aimed at finding ways to improve bone health in postmenopausal women without the use of hormones.

UF researchers studied 20 healthy women ages 60 to 75 who lived in a community retirement facility. Half were randomly assigned to a group who exercised routinely and half to a control group who did not. Past scientific research has shown physical activity can improve balance, but to stimulate bone formation, resistance must be used in combination with exercise. Therefore, the exercisers wore weighted vests while doing cardiovascular exercise.

All the study’s participants maintained their usual eating habits and were supplied with and asked to take 1,000 milligrams of calcium citrate malate, the full U.S. recommended daily allowance for adult women, and 400 international units of vitamin D, twice the U.S. R.D.A. Past research has shown that supplements of calcium and vitamin D can reduce bone loss and the risk of fractures in older people.

In the women who exercised over a 32-week period, bone mineral density increased an average of 11 percent, as seen on X-ray imaging. In addition, their strength increased 26 percent, and their balance increased 27 percent. The women participated in supervised calisthenics, strength training, walking and stair climbing for 60 to 90 minutes three times a week. This included working with weight machines, and engaging in balance and agility training. The bone density of the women not participating in exercise actually decreased an average of 5 percent, and strength and balance did not change.

01-22-2007, 08:45 AM

this one used younger women, a median age of 55

Dec. 28, 2005 — Exercise and calcium supplementation improve bone mineral density (BMD) in postmenopausal women, according to the results of a 4-year study reported in the December issue of Osteoporosis International.

"The good news is these long-term data confirmed the potent combination of improved nutrition and increased physical activity to prevent bone loss," principal investigator Timothy Lohman, PhD, from the University of Arizona in Tucson, said in a news release. "The extended use of calcium supplementation and exercise counteracted the typical loss of BMD in women at this age, in a regimen that women really can stick with. This is quite significant for younger women as well, as these exercises and calcium supplementation can help build peak BMD which may prevent health problems and osteoporosis in the future."

01-22-2007, 11:56 AM
last fri i went and had a scan,im -2.2 in my spine and -2.9 in my hips,which means ive to get a dr appointmaent next week to discuss drugs.........this post has been awesome(yet again).........im also starting the pill to get periods back which should help,and i do do weights and walk a hell of a lot.

my reaction to the bad news was to go home and clean,i mean things like emptying cupboards,having a clear out from under the bed etc etc.

so every cloud has a silver lining!:)

02-26-2007, 02:32 PM
Just remember -- hip guards and padding won't prevent fractures. They'll make your fall hurt a little less, but the force of a fall that will break an osteopenic femur will still break it through the padding. Just like wrist guards for rollerblading -- they don't decrease incidence of fracture, they just prevent palmar road rash and cause the true break to occur further up your arm.

We participate in a non-weight-bearing sport. It doesn't help us maintain our bone density. We need to do weight-bearing exercise as well for maximum bone health (in addition to calcium, vitamin D, folate to keep homocysteine in check, figuring out our hormones and using bisphosphonates like Actonel when appropriate)!

02-26-2007, 04:02 PM
I dont' think most of us are getting hip protectors, this thread has evolved into a help thread for people with Osteoporosis/Osteopenia diagnoses.

I have started lifting weights 3x a week and doing stairs 15+ minutes 5 days a week AND walking a mile a day 5 days a week.
All of this on top of bike riding, you're right, cycling is not weight bearing, but it improves stamina, and makes it easier to do all that other stuff.
oh yeah, and taking vitamins.

02-27-2007, 03:35 AM
I am taking Evista regularly now, since I have had osteopenia for at least 5 years and I am progressing rapidly toward osteoporosis. I've been post menopause for almost 5 years and I am 53. I tried Fosomax twice and I had the worst side effects: diarrea, intense heartburn,, the works. Been taking calcium/vitaminD for 25 years. I hope something works. Family history is not good for this either.
I need to do weight lifting more regularly. It's the thing that always seems to go when I am short on time. I do hike, walk, snow shoe, but I wish I could run
to get some of that good pounding exercise. That hurts other things! I really want to be able to keep mountain biking, even the wimpy way I do. So far, I've had a couple of road crashes, but no broken bones.
This sucks. I have eaten healthy since I was about 24, and never drank much soda. I do drink coffee and I am hoping that isn't making it worse. It's my only vice.

02-27-2007, 06:10 AM
Keep your coffee. But get with the weight bearing program. I don't run either, but I can do stairs with the best of them. (I'm going to be in a competition in a few weeks, 69 flights of stairs!)

I wish I could run, but whenever I try (you know, run 300 feet) my whole body tells me it's not good, and shortly, I stop.

02-28-2007, 03:43 AM
well,ive been on the pill for 2 months now for my bones,wonder whats going on inside-if only we could look!!oddly i dont think its given me bigger tits,i got no spots and i bled for a mere second,no kidding,HOW DULL.

i drip milk into me,love it,i work upstairs at home so run up and down them constantly,BUT did wonder after a previous reply should i do a conscious 15 mins of up and down as an exercise????walk the dog.im afraid im a bit 2 fingers to running:rolleyes:

gave up fizzy drinks 9 months ago and no regrets,infact my halo shines and aspertame,a harder thing to kick but all possible and very worthwhile,my place is secure in heaven-if only!

my vice is tea,but there again im am british and most things are solved over a cuppa

02-28-2007, 04:52 AM
Hi, My name is silver and I have osteopenia.

add me to the list. I'm 42. I've been referred to start some sort of Rx therapy. My hip number was -1.44 down from -.98 at 38.

This thread has been good info.

I've been doing weight training, running, and taking calcium for the last 5 years and the numbers still going down.

:( :(

02-28-2007, 06:03 AM
Hi, My name is silver and I have osteopenia.

add me to the list. I'm 42. I've been referred to start some sort of Rx therapy. My hip number was -1.44 down from -.98 at 38.

This thread has been good info.

I've been doing weight training, running, and taking calcium for the last 5 years and the numbers still going down.

:( :(

Silver, that's a bummer, how much calcium are you taking?

hellosunshine, how long do you think you can take the pill for your bones?

read about Bone Divas (http://www.ivillage.com/stc/bonedivas/index.html?vty=http://www.ivillage.com/bonedivas)

02-28-2007, 09:13 AM
I'm taking supplements of 1000 mg calcium and 200 iu of Vit D. In addition a lot of the other things I eat have added calcium. I need to make the appt with my family doctor but am somehow procrastinating. :rolleyes:

hummm.....looks like I could up the vit D, but isn't there risk to too much vit D? I wonder what that is....

02-28-2007, 09:28 AM
make sure you are getting 500 of Vit D (not too much) and also BORON.

02-28-2007, 10:04 AM
Mimi, when you do stair climbing, do you run or walk? I can't see me running up the stairs! I can do it cardio wise, but my knees would suffer. Where do you do this?


02-28-2007, 10:14 AM
i do it in the stairwell of my building. and i'm not running. I'm moving at about the same speed as everyone else. sometimes going downstairs i speed up a little, but not much. I think the real stairs are better than the machines because you UP and DOWN
Last night i went to the gym and got on one of those stairmaster machines.
according to it, i climbed 85 flights of stairs in 20 minutes!

02-28-2007, 10:46 AM
Ok, that's what I thought. I can do this at home and use the stairmaster once in awhile.

03-01-2007, 09:37 AM
hellosunshine, how long do you think you can take the pill for your bones?

read about Bone Divas (http://www.ivillage.com/stc/bonedivas/index.html?vty=http://www.ivillage.com/bonedivas)[/QUOTE]

havent a clue!not 100% happy about taking it,it has coincided with a real bad patch of depression,maybe just coincidence,hmm.

tell you what i do fancy though!(?) stair running races.

03-08-2007, 05:26 PM
Osteoporosis is a worry for me. Had a total hysterectomy in April '05 and no HRT. My bone scan then was fine and had a bad accident involving a cow and a pipe fence last year and no broken bone so I'm still dense ;) .

Good info on this thread. I have started more weight-bearing stuff like running using the Couch to 5K podcast and some strenuous yoga (push-up type stuff, etc.) I wasn't aware that cycling would not help bone density, but like Mimi said the stamina from the cycling helps with the other stuff.

If I can make it to 80+ before the fractures start, I think that would be ok (maybe I won't think so if I'm fortunate enuf to actually turn 80!) The studies showing bone density improvement thru weight-bearing excercises is encouraging as I would rather do that then go the prescription med route.

03-08-2007, 05:32 PM
I am going to be in a stairclimb race next saturday, March 17th. It is 69 flights of 19 stairs. I am entered as part of a team with my 26 year old son, but he has been sick with a bad throat/cough/fever virus so I am thinking i am going to be a team of one.

I don't know if I'm allowed to fundraise here for my stairclimb, but if anyone is interested in donating (http://www.active.com/donate/2007bigclimb/bc07mboothb) to the Leukemia Lymphoma Foundation, here's a link.

anyway, taking Birth control pills is only going to help for a few years, no doctor will keep you on them indefinitely because of all the other side effects. Got to start doing something for your bones!

03-09-2007, 08:31 AM
here's the exercise plan that built bone on a group of women in a study:


03-09-2007, 06:09 PM
here's the exercise plan that built bone on a group of women in a study:


Excellent...I do these exact exercises just about every time I go to the gym, although I do military presses with both arms at the same time, not just one...not sure if that makes a difference. It's good to know that these are helpful for bone maintenance as well as muscles!

I've only been getting to the gym 2x a week lately, though, because I've been having to work through lunch most days (my usual gym time). Hoping that won't last too much longer! I did get to the gym today, and it felt good. :)

Thanks Mimi!


03-15-2007, 08:01 AM
Went to the Dr to tell them that Fosomax doesn't work so she gave me actynel (SP?) and it did not upset my gut.

I asked when I can get my next bone scan. She said TWO YEARS!!! :eek:
(A lot can happen in 2 years!)