The Silent Disease That Will Destroy Your Independence

The Silent Disease That Will Destroy Your Independence

Call me a Doomsday Douglas but we are in the middle of a dark patch of ignorance as it comes to human body. Although medicine is taking giant leaps forward helping us to live longer, other advancements are making us comfortable of letting go.

Our world is a busy, stress filled ball of tension. The technology has given us the gift of leisure from hard labor but it has replaced the hard labor with excessive inactivity.

Our current lifestyle habits are making us ticking time bombs. We have the knowledge to be proactive about our health but often choose to live in ignorance. Instead of taking control we are relying on the modern medicine to cut the red or blue wire once we need it.

 

 

Super condensed crash course to human body and the history of mankind

Take a deep breath. Here’s (non-complete) human body and evolution condensed in four paragraphs, without too the science crap.

The body reacts to physical stress by improving itself. When the body is challenged it adapts to stress so it can handle it easier next time. If you start doing 20 bicep curls today with 20 kilograms and repeat it the next few weeks, it will be easier on the day 14 than it was on day 1. This is simple physiology.

In the past we lived in a world where our survival was dependent on our physicalness. We didn’t have to worry about being active as it was an undebatable condition for survival. You either ran away from predator or became a meal. Chased and killed prey or starved. Fetch firewood or froze. And eventually you either sowed the seed and dug up your potatoes, or ate finger nails (yours or someone else’s) and air over winter.


You either sowed the seed and dug up your potatoes,
or ate finger nails (yours or someone else’s) and air over winter.


Today you don’t have to do any of that. You can get groceries delivered to your front door with few clicks of a mouse. And as amazing as it is (I much rather click a mouse than dig up potatoes) you have to adapt to these circumstances if you want your body to last the longer lifespan you are being offered by the modern world and science.

If we keep the current lifestyle habits of inactivity, we are slowly killing our independence through the benefits of convenience. As the old Finnish saying goes, it’s all fun until you shit your pants. Then it’s too late.

 

 

The bone explosion disease (also known as osteoporosis)

You’ll reach the peak bone mass at around 35 years of age, after which the decline starts. This can be further accelerated by inactivity, poor diet (low calcium and vitamin d levels), and lifestyle factors such as smoking and excessive alcohol intake.


You can reduce the symptoms with pharmaceuticals and
lifestyle changes, but there is no cure.


Osteoporosis is a disease that affects the density and quality of the bones (osteoporosis literally means porous bone). The disease is often silent and symptomless until your hear that very first explosion (aka crack). Yikes.

You can reduce the symptoms with pharmaceuticals and lifestyle changes, but there is no cure. Once you’ve got it you’ll have it for life. Shitting in the pants seems fitting in here.

if you sit in an office all day, never lifting anything more than a finger, and want to age gracefully, you need to make a conscious effort to occasionally challenge your body. This is not me being The Terrible Fate Terry. I am only the bearer of bad news. 

But, what if you could reduce the odds of becoming a time bomb in the first place? Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat….??

 

 

How to reduce your risk of bone explosion disease

As bone density is harder to increase the older we get, it’s crucial to take on preventative measures as much as we can [1].

As listed by Osteoporosis Australia website, there are few lifestyle factors that play a big part in reducing the risk of osteoporosis: frequent physical activity, and optimal built of the body. What’s interesting is that both obesity and having a thin build are risk factors. As bones react to stress it can be surprising that obesity does not reduce the risk of osteoporosis but can in fact be a predictor of it, as studied by some smart people [2][3]


Both obesity and having a thin build are risk factors.


The same smart people also reaffirm the benefits of weight bearing exercise and mechanical loading in reducing the risk of osteoporosis. Their straightforward explanation is that larger lean mass correlates with larger muscles “which typically convey larger or more frequent mechanical loading to the skeleton.” This also explains why a thin build can be a risk factor for future osteoporosis.

Thin build = less lean muscle mass = less mechanical loading on the body.

By adding frequent resistance training (for healthy adults, 3-5 times per week for a minimum of 30 minutes at a time, as recommend by Osteoporosis Australia [4]) can do amazing things to your longevity and improve your odds of saying NO! to osteoporosis.

Strength training is a big part of the puzzle when it comes to aging with dignity and keeping independence for longer. The earlier you start the less catching up you have to do, but never is too late.

 

 

Is the gym necessary for osteoporosis prevention?

50 years ago people who went to the gym were thought of as weird. Today the gym has become a necessity, not because everyone wants to have the Kardashian Butt or Fabio’s Chest (or, if you’re like me, you want both. Or chest like Kardashian butt and butt like Fabio’s chest. I could go on for hours). But because it’s one of the only ways to get resistance training into our lives.

If you are able to get in frequent resistance training that challenges your body in any other way, go for it. If you work in a job that requires high level of daily physical effort, you probably don’t need a gym to fend off physical decline. You might actually benefit from low level movement more than heavy weights. Yes, there is a point of too much of a good thing.

But, for the majority of us this is not the case. And that’s when the gym or home gym becomes a viable, and possible the only option.

Do what you can to bulletproof your bones (don’t test them with bullets!) for the future. It’s more rewarding to swim than to fight staying a float. Nothing better than being 100 years old and opening up a jar of cherry jam without needing to ask for help.


[1] https://www.strengthandconditioningresearch.com/perspectives/strength-training-stronger-bones/

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1868430/

[3] https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Antonio_Aversa/publication/44645566_Is_obesity_protective_for_osteoporosis_Evaluation_of_bone_mineral_density_in_individuals_with_high_body_mass_index/links/09e41507d1e788dbe6000000.pdf

[4]
http://www.osteoporosis.org.au/sites/default/files/files/Exercise%20Fact%20Sheet%202nd%20Edition.pdf

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