The National Osteoporosis Foundation (www.NOF.org) believes the U.S. will be experiencing an epidemic in decreased bone density. This is due to a number of factors: children are less physically active than in generations past - you build your maximum bone density by your early 20's - a more sedentary youth and a decrease in that individual's "bone bank". Our "bone bank" decreases from our 30's and dramatically decreases around menopause.
Things that you can do today to decrease your risk of developing a spinal compression fracture later in life....
1. Get your feet hitting the ground - hike, dance, walk or jog on a regular basis
2. Do resistance training - work heavy resistance with good form - if you can do 3 sets of 8 repetitions with a certain resistance, it is time to go up in weight!
3. Work spinal extension (backward bending) - with range of motion exercises and with strengthening exercises - this has been shown to decrease the prevalence of spinal compression fractures later in life.
4. Increase your intake of calcium with dairy, green leafy vegetables and bony fish
5. Be aware that common medications have a side effect of depleting your bone density such as antacids and anti-depressants - this is especially important if you have a family history of osteoporosis
As you can see it is never too young to start working your bones - in fact the younger we focus on our bone health the better!!!!