20 Oct 2005

Move it or Lose it is the message setting in motion a three year lifestyle campaign from the International Osteoporosis Foundation. Encompassing all associated risks, the Foundation is channelling its energies into increasing awareness of the best preventative measures.

World Osteoporosis Day (20th October) is centring its 2005 awareness day on exercise, with the message that increasing activity levels can help prevent the onset of osteoporosis and improve the condition of those coping with the disease.

Sports Council Wales has added its weight to the annual campaign and wants to see more of the Welsh population moving for their health. Taking advantage of the awareness opportunity they are urging people to invest in their bones by adopting a healthier lifestyle.

For the one in three women and one in eight men affected by osteoporosis, regular exercise can play a crucial part in the rehabilitation process. An effective, inexpensive and healthy way to treat osteoporosis, exercise can also reduce the risk of contracting the disease in later life. Swansea’s Dr Mark Ridgewell, sports medicine doctor and general practitioner, explains:

"The early years are key in the building of bone mass and there is much that children and young people can do to protect themselves. Weight-bearing exercise is extremely important, such as walking, jogging, tennis or dancing.

"A good diet is also important – underweight teenage girls who smoke are most at risk – they need to be reassured that a diet which is rich in calcium is not necessarily high fat.

"But it’s never too late to start exercising and adding bone mass. The elderly can get active to improve posture, balance and muscle strength and flexibility, which is especially important in preventing falls and fractures. Regular weight-bearing exercise, such as walking, can help as can disciplines like Tai chi, pilates and yoga."