Osteoporosis, the progressive loss of bone mass and strength, is not only a problem for women. It is a condition linked to hormonal changes during menopause and it is a problem that increasingly affects men as well.
“Regular physical activity is moderate and it is the best investment to make to maintain bone health over time” – says Professor Piero Volpi, head of the Unit of Knee Orthopaedics and Sports Traumatology at Humanitas.
“Eliminating other risk factors, regular cycling day after day can insure – the specialist says – a good bone density when you have 70-80 years, but it is a lifestyle that should be implemented since a young age in order to ensure the best success in terms of prevention of osteoporosis.”
The golden rule is not to overdo it
“In Italy there are 20-25 million people who practice sport on a daily basis in a balanced way – said the specialist – but we must be concerned about the extreme segments of the population: the range is composed of sedentary and overweight people. On the other hand, opposite to the other extreme, there are people that exacerbate physical activity.”
For example, exercising too much in a gym with machinery and more sophisticated equipment can be counterproductive?
“We must learn to perform physical activity with balance – responds Professor Volpi – that is what is good for all the bones, it makes them more robust and saves time. Surely if a person undergoes strenuous workouts and excessive loads they do not achieve a good result in terms of osteoporosis prevention.”
The aging population and bone fractures are some of the factors that impact the rise in osteoporosis cases in general and osteoporosis cases in men.” The importance of physical activity in young people is now accentuated by lengthening life expectancy, which is a constant challenge for many medical fields,” says the surgeon.
Promoting golf and avoiding soccer
Which sports are advisable for people to practice and which to avoid well into old age to preserve bone strength without exaggeration?
“Avoid all contact sports, mainly soccer, that carry the risk of trauma and fractures. The same goes for tennis, which involves repeated movements and taking shots. The wear and tear of the joints promotes fractures. It is instead recommended to practice sports such as swimming, water gymnastics, cycling, and walks. A honourable place is reserved for golf, a sport that can be practiced at all ages with minimum risk to the health.”