Bone Adaptations

Bones play a very important role in motion and are the hardest connective tissue in the human body. Its unique makeup, consisting of cellular components (osteoblasts, osteoclasts etc.) and an extracellular matrix (minerals, reticular fibers etc.) allow for material distribution and thus providing unique properties of remodeling and shape changing when subject to challenges, stimuli or stress. For instance, bones can adapt to various stimuli including, mechanical load, diet and injury.

In movement, the function of the skeletal system is to supply the muscular system with rigid levers to pull against for appropriate movement. For any demographic, having proper bone integrity and health is critical.

Each person’s bones begin with a specific genetic makeup and develop their architecture during growth to meet the demands of activity because of external loading. Adequate bone adaptation to stress requires that cells within them perceive mechanical signals. A positive stress on bone will increase bone density via simulating osteoblast activity, which is part of the cellular component and is responsible for the bone formation. This occurs when a stimulus exceeds a certain threshold. However, negative adaptions can occur when the muscular system is not able to provide suitable external load. When there is inadequate external force, osteoclast (bone resorption) dominates osteoblast activity and as a result bone mass diminishes. This occurs when the stimulus falls below threshold, increasing the rate of bone remodeling.

This is why exercise has such a profound impact on bone health. Improving the muscular systems ability to enact mechanical forces on bones provides an optimal environment for bone formation and health. It is important that the muscular system both support the weight of the body and be able to tolerate external loads.

Everyone should be able to handle their body weight for exercise as well as external forces. When the body is subject to weight, either through moving through space, or via external loading, the muscular system is required to work, and as a result pulls on tendons that pull on bones to provide a stimulus for positive growth.

From a nutritional standpoint, for strong healthy bones it is important to have adequate levels of Vitamin D and Calcium. Remember, just as it is important working with a skilled professional to improve muscular integrity and oversee an exercise routine, it is important to work with a professional who understands the body as a unit. Taking another pill to increase calcium and Vitamin D levels could potentially make matters worse. Treat the cause rather than the symptom!

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