Better Stronger Glutes Than Bigger Buns to Prevent Hip Fractures
Posted Sep 03 2009 5:20pm
Last week the Journal of American Medicine reported on a study looking at the causes behind the 32% drop in hip fractures in Canada. The study suggests that the growing rate of obesity and the subsequent rise in padding in the hips of older adults may be adding to this decline. Other contributing factors may include: the wider use of osteoporosis drugs, better nutrition and a drop in smoking rates. According to the NY Times, there was a similar drop in hip fractures found in the US from 1993-2003.
Related studies have also suggested that heavier people naturally have higher bone density because their greater mass puts more stress on their bones, therefore increasing their density. The problem is, the more extra weight a person carries, the greater their risk for heart disease, diabetes and even cancer, all of which are potentially more life threatening than osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis can largely be prevented (or at least ameliorated) with proper nutrition and strength training. Better to build the gluteal and leg muscles which support the hips than rely on extra body fat to cushion a potential fall. Squats, lunges, step-ups, stair-climbing, hiking in the hills can all help to strengthen the gluteal and leg muscles. The gluteus maximus, in particular, is the biggest muscle in the body and yet frequently it is the least utilized. Eating a vitamin- and mineral-rich diet to build and maintain bone density is equally important.