To complement this issue’s theme on posture, let’s discuss a common postural problem among many older Americans: the hyperkyphosis that often accompanies osteoporosis.
Lettuce, spinach, broccoli, cabbage and brussels sprouts are tops on the list of vitamin K-rich vegetables, which might help improve bone strength and lessen fractures. A study in the January 2000 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition followed more than 72,000 female nurses for a 10-year period. Those who consumed more than 146 micrograms of vitamin K per day (equal to one cup of lettuce) had fewer bone fractures than those who consumed less.
While many types of exercise may be beneficial to your health, only a few can increase bone strength. Researchers at Washington University recently studied the effects of both resistance (weight training) and impact training (aerobic exercise, running) on 27 non-active women. Both styles of training put pressure on the skeletal framework, thus provoking a rise in calcium absorption. One group performed only resistance training while the other did only impact training. After nine months, both groups increased bone density by 2 percent.
The body movements of tai chi, so graceful and fluid, have long been practiced by both young and old in Eastern cultures. This ancient conditioning exercise, also referred to as tai chi chuan (T’ai Chi Ch’uan or TCC), is rooted in martial arts folk tradition, with “chuan” meaning “boxing,” sometimes referred to as shadow boxing. An exercise in mind and consciousness, the movements are representative of the circular, encompassing state of the universe, bringing “serenity in action and action in serenity.1