The Studio Durham House Blog | Porous bones

Osteoporosis is a condition where your bones become less dense and  therefore weaker as the mineral density drops below the normal level for your age.

Normally your bone density increases until about age 20 and stays the same until age 35.  From there on everyone’s bones starts to slowly become less dense.  If someone loses their bone density they have a greater risk of fractures, even with minimal trauma.

Who gets osteoporosis?

Some people lose their bone density faster than others. Generally women are more prone to osteoporosis than men because of hormone changes in menopause.  Other risk factors are:

  • family history of osteoporosis
  • previous eating disorders such as anorexia
  • digestion disorders such as Crohn’s
  • long term steroid use for example for asthma conditions
  • heavy drinking or smoking
  • long term bed rest.

Menopause and osteoporosis

When women hit menopause the body slows down the production of the hormone oestrogen. Oestrogen helps to keep your bone density high. Women who hit menopause early have a greater risk of osteoporosis. Taking HRT (hormone replacement therapy) can help to prevent osteoporosis, however, the effect only tends to last whilst you’re taking it.

Prevention

Genetic factors play a significant role in determining whether an individual is at heightened risk of osteoporosis. However, lifestyle factors such as diet and physical activity also influence bone development in youth and the rate of bone loss later in life.

After your mid 20’s, bone thinning is a natural process and cannot be completely stopped. The thicker your bones, the less likely they are to become thin enough to break. Young women in particular need to be aware of their osteoporosis risk and take steps to slow its progress and prevent fractures.

Childhood and adolescence

It’s never too early to invest in bone health! The prevention of osteoporosis begins with  optimal bone growth and development in youth.  Bones are living tissue and the skeleton grows continually from birth to the end of the teenage years, reaching a maximum strength and size (peak bone mass) in early adulthood, around the mid 20’s.

Children and adolescents should:

  • ensure a nutritious diet with adequate calcium intake – our bones are made of it
  • avoid protein malnutrition and under nutrition
  • maintain an  adequate supply of vitamin D. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium. It can be hard to get all the vitamin D you need from food, especially if you have a  vegetarian or vegan diet. You can get vitamin D from being out in the sun, however, in the winter months it can be useful to take supplements if you know you might be at risk of vitamin D deficiency
  • participate in regular physical activity
  • avoid the effects of second hand smoking.

Adulthood

Bone mass acquired during youth is an important determinant of the risk of osteoporotic  fracture during later life. The higher the peak bone mass, the lower the risk of osteoporosis.  Once peak bone mass has been reached, it’s maintained by a process called remodelling. This is a continuous process in which old bone is removed (resorption) and new bone is created (formation). The renewal of bone is responsible for bone strength throughout life.

During childhood and the beginning of adulthood, bone formation is more important than bone resorption. Later in life, however, the rate of bone resorption is greater than the rate of bone formation and results in net bone loss, a thinning of your bones.

Any factor which causes a higher rate of bone remodelling will ultimately lead to a more rapid loss of bone mass and more fragile bones. The nutritional and lifestyle advice for building strong bones in youth is just as applicable to adults to.

Adults should also :

  • ensure a nutritious diet and adequate calcium intake and supply of vitamin D
  • avoid under nutrition, particularly the effects of severe weight loss diets and eating disorders
  • participate in regular weight bearing activity
  • avoid smoking and second hand smoking
  • avoid heavy drinking.

Diagnosis

Because bone loss is gradual and painless, there are usually no symptoms to indicate a person is developing osteoporosis. This is why osteoporosis is often referred to as the silent disease. Often the first symptom of osteoporosis is a fracture. Most commonly, osteoporotic fractures occur at the spine, the wrist or the hip, although osteoporotic fractures can occur in other bones as well.

While most limb fractures (such as at the wrist or hip) are obvious, spinal fractures can be more difficult to diagnose. This is because they might be painless or, if there is pain, a person may not know it is caused by a fracture due to the many different causes of back pain.  More obvious signs of spinal fractures are:

  • loss of height
  • development of a curved upper back (sometimes called a Dowager’s Hump).

Since there are usually no outward signs of osteoporosis developing, doctors will often recommend diagnostic testing depending on your age and if you have other risk factors for the disease.

Living with osteoporosis doesn’t have to be a life sentence. There are medications and lifestyle changes available to help you manage your osteoporosis. These can allow you to enjoy an active lifestyle.  In our Top Tips article we talk about exercise and activity for osteoporosis and throughout this month we will be looking at some weight bearing and weight training exercises for all.

 Exercising is important for your body to keep its bone density and    encourage a demand for stronger bones.  It’s also good for your heart!

The Studio Durham House Blog | Bridge Pose

Bridge Pose — Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (SAY-too BAHN-duh shar-vahn-GAHS-uh-na) — is a beginning backbend that helps to open the chest and stretch the thighs. When you’re in the pose, your arms and legs create a “locked bridge” with your body. This pose can be used as preparation for deeper backbends or practiced with a block as a restorative pose.

Bridge Pose opens the chest, heart, and shoulders. It stretches the spine, the back of the neck, the thighs, and the hip flexors (front hip joints). Because your heart is higher than your head in this pose, it is considered a mild inversion (less strenuous than other inversions, such as Headstand) and holds all the benefits of inversions: Relief from stress, fatigue, anxiety, headaches, insomnia, and mild depression.

Bridge Pose also calms the mind and is known to be therapeutic for individuals with high blood pressure. Because it opens the chest, it increases lung capacity, which is therapeutic for those with asthma.

Bridge Pose also stimulates the abdominal organs and thyroid glands, which improves digestion and helps to regulate metabolism. Because it revitalizes the legs and stretches the shoulders, it can be a particularly rejuvenating pose for those who spend the day sitting in front of a computer or driving.

Do not perform this pose if you have a neck or shoulder injury. Always work within your own range of limits and abilities. If you have any medical concerns, talk with your doctor before practicing yoga.

Instructions

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Extend your arms along the floor, palms flat.
  • Press your feet and arms firmly into the floor. Exhale as you lift your hips toward the ceiling.
  • Draw your tailbone toward your pubic bone, holding your buttocks off the floor. Do not squeeze your glutes or flex your buttocks.
  • Roll your shoulders back and underneath your body. Clasp your hands and extend your arms along the floor beneath your pelvis. Straighten your arms as much as possible, pressing your forearms into the mat. Reach your knuckles toward your heels.
  • Keep your thighs and feet parallel — do not roll to the outer edges of your feet or let your knees drop together. Press your weight evenly across all four corners of both feet. Lengthen your tailbone toward the backs of your knees.
  • Hold for up to one minute. To release, unclasp your hands and place them palms-down alongside your body. Exhale as you slowly roll your spine along the floor, vertebra by vertebra. Allow your knees to drop together.

If you’re having trouble keeping your hips lifted or to create a restorative version of the pose, place a block or bolster under your sacrum — the spot on your lower back directly above your tailbone — to support your pelvis. Allow your weight to rest on the block.

If your shoulders are very tight, keep your hands alongside the body with your palms pressing into the mat rather than clasping your hands beneath your torso.

When you are in the full version of the pose, do not force your shoulders away from your ears by tugging too hard or turn your head to the right or left when you’re in the pose. Doing so can cause neck injury.

Keep your shoulder blades drawn together as you extend your arms beneath your torso.

 To find out more about Yoga at the Studio Durham House Farnham, click here

The Studio Durham House Blog | Recipe of the month

About Pancake Day

Pancake Day, or Shrove Tuesday, is the traditional feast day before the start of Lent on Ash Wednesday.

Lent – the 40 days leading up to Easter – was traditionally a time of fasting and on Shrove Tuesday,  Ango-Saxon Christians went to confession and were “shriven” (absolved from their sins). A bell would be rung to call people to confession. This came to be called the “Pancake Bell” and is still rung today.

Shrove Tuesday always falls 47 days before Easter Sunday, so the date varies from year to year. This year Shrove Tuesday is 5th March.

Shrove Tuesday was the last opportunity to use up eggs and fats before embarking on the Lenten fast and pancakes are the perfect way of using up these ingredients.

The pancake has a very long history and has featured in cookery books as far back as 1439. The tradition of tossing or flipping them is almost as old: “And every man and maide doe take their turne, And tosse their Pancakes up for feare they burne” (Pasquil’s Palin, 1619).

The ingredients for pancakes can be seen to symbolise four points of significance at this time of year:

Eggs ~ Creation
Flour ~ The staff of life
Salt ~ Wholesomeness
Milk ~ Purity

For some interesting alternatives, check out some of our versions below.

Banana Pancakes

Prep: 5 mins, Cook: 5 mins, Makes: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 large banana
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • Pinch of baking powder (gluten free if coeliac)
  • Splash of vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp oil

Preparation

  • In a bowl, mash 1 large banana with a fork
  • until it resembles a thick purée.
  • Stir in 2 beaten eggs, baking powder and
  • vanilla extract.
Vegan Pancakes

Prep: 5 mins, Cook: 25 mins with resting, Makes: 6 small pancakes

Ingredients

  • 125g gluten free plain flour
  • egg replacer equivalent to 1 egg
  • 250ml dairy free milk

Preparation

  • Put the flour in a bowl and make a well in the centre. Pour in the egg replacer and a quarter of the milk.
  • Use an electric whisk to thoroughly combine the mixture, then beat in another quarter of the milk. Once lump free, pour
    in the remaining milk.
  • Leave to rest for 20 minutes.
  • Stir again before using.
Spinach Protein Pancakes

Prep:15 mins, Cook: 20 mins, Makes: 12

Ingredients

  • 284ml pot of buttermik
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 2 poached eggs per person to serve (optional)
  • 200g spinach
  • 175g buckwheat flour
  • 1 tsp gluten free baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • pinch of paprika

Preparation

  • Boil the kettle and put the buttermilk and beaten egg in a food processor.
  • Put the spinach in a colander and pour over boiling water to wilt. Squeeze out any excess water, add to the processor and blitz to a smooth purée.
  • Put all the dry ingredients in a bowl and gradually mix in the purée.
Dairy Free Pancakes

Prep: 5 mins, Cook: 25 mins with resting, Makes: 8 small pancakes

Ingredients

  • 125g plain flour
  • 1 egg
  • 300ml dairy free milk

Preparation

  • Put the flour in a bowl and make a well in the centre. Crack the egg in the middle and pour in a quarter of the milk.
  • Use an electric or balloon whisk to thoroughly combine the mixture. Once you
    have a paste, mix in another quarter of milk. Once lump free, mix in the remaining milk.
  • Leave to rest for 20 minutes. Stir again before using.