elliptical

Is the Image 8.0 elliptical machine good for bone building?

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Hi lynolive:
I think you will find that walking is better for you than treadmills or elliptical machines. These machines provide very little balance training and balance is very important in preventing falls and fractures.

Walking on the other hand prevents falls and fractures by increasing leg strength, improving balance and providing improvements in bone strength.

Woody McMahon
NOVA Osteoporosis Support Group Leader

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I agree with Woody 100%. The elliptical will be good cardio but not beneficial for the bones necessarily.

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Thank you for your information concerning the elliptical!
I also have a very old stair stepper machine. Will that benefit my bones?

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Any weight bearing exercise is beneficial; walking, jogging, running, and weight training.

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I have a question, though.... why isn't the elliptical and stair stepper considered a weight bearing exercise?? Especially if a person programs the machine for resistance? I am wondering because my personal trainer has me use the elliptical and stair stepper as part of my exercise progran. Thanks.

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Same as above....

Woody

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Hi Willie1:
It is not that these machines are not weight bearing but when you use these machines your muscles act differently than if you were walking or climbing stairs. Remember it is the muscles action on bone that makes the difference in bone strength. Also remember that falls are the greatest cause of broken bones. Falls come from a lack of balance and these machines do nothing to improve your balance.

So if you walk on the ground you get four benefits in the same amount of time;
1. Better balance
2. Stronger muscles
3. Improved bone strength
4. Body control which is a combination of strength and balance

Makes more sense for your time spent does it not?

Woody

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I am newly diagnosed w/bone loss. My doctor gave me zero instructions except to take Fosamax & calcium.
So, where should I go on this internet site to learn more about the impact of my muscles & how to use them in order to build bone?
Thanks for any help!

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Dear lynolive:
You can learn a lot on this website. Before you start on the biophosphates, educate yourself for about 4-6 months and then decide what you want to do.

Did your doctor do any test to see if you have any secondary causes like thyroid or leaky kidney? How bad were your DEXA tests? Read the "The Myth of Osteoporosis". You can also do a search this site about the book for further comments.

DEXA doesn't test bone quality but only density and doesn't cover the whole bone picture. Biophosphates change the bone structure and only reduces fracture risk in only 1 out of 100 people taking the Rx. Are you the one out of 100? Take the FRAX test and see what your odds of fracture might be. Do a search for FRAX on this site and it will give you more info.

Improving ones eating and lifestyle will improve more than just your bones. Osteo is a maze and no one has the answer. So you have to pick the path you want to follow. Excercise alone isn't the answer. Runners have Osteo according to Runner's World.

Unfortunately most of the MD's get their information from the drug companies and so are of limited help. Few have studied the Osteo landscape and for most it is a small part of their practice. You have to do the work yourself. Have patience. Your bones change very slowly. It also sounds like you might want to look for another doctor. But one versed in Osteo is hard to find.

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Ohhhh! I get it. I guess somehow I thought it was just the weight and didn't realize it was the muscles action on the bone. So, I can see where there would be more muscle action required with balancing while walking. Thank you!!!! Makes sense!!

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Hi lynolive:
Take your time with this condition. There is no need to rush. There is a lot to learn about the condition and yourself. There are many parts to rebuilding your bones and all of them need to be addressed. Most of these parts are lifestyle in nature. Lifestyle balance is the key to getting this condition under control.

The clients I have worked with who want to focus mostly on "what can I take" don't seem to do very well. A support team of experts will be helpful because your doctor will not have all the answers unless they are exceptional. Even then that is hard to find.

I recommend 5 important lifestyle changes for my clients who have been diagnosed with osteoporosis/osteopenia before they set off on medication unless their case is extreme.

These are:

1. A diet that contains 50% fruits and vegetables. Fruits and veggies contain greater amounts of water and minerals with generally lesser amounts of
animal protein.
2. Adequate water intake for maximum hydration. Water is very important in helping the kidneys regulate pH and detoxify the body.
3. Daily stress reduction activities. This helps lower cortisol and homocysteine levels reducing calcium loss.
4. Year round vitamin D3 levels in the 50-80 ng/mL (or 125-200 nM/L).
This should be confirmed by 25-hydroxyvitamin D testing.
5. Sufficient weight bearing exercise to stimulate balance and muscle growth which is essential for bone strengthening determined

Before you decide to give-up too many activities which I feel is counter productive, you should score yourself on FRAX which looks at risk of fracture. You can find the FRAX tool at http://www.shef.ac.uk/FRAX/ and go to Calculation Tool at the top.

I also suggest Dr. Cannell’s site and recommendations for vitamin D that are top notch www.vitamindcouncil.org.
Dr. Lee’s book What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause http://www.johnleemd.com and
Dr. Holick has a great website and book called The UV Advantage. Worth a look http://www.uvadvantage.org
Gillian Sanson has a great book called The Myth of Osteoporosis. She presents some compelling reasons ro pay less attention to DEXA scores and move to a healthier lifestyle. http://www.gilliansanson.com/

If you have further questions or if you want to join our support group please feel free to email me at bebonestrong@sequoiahealth.com.

Woody McMahon

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Using the FRAX tool is really not necessary for those of us that are already diagnosed with osteoporosis because it is known that we are at greater risk of breaking a bone.

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Especially if you have already fractured bones. Sometimes not even knowing it. Before I was diagnosed with osteoporosis I noticed my balance was off. I actually thought I had a neurological problem or MS. I kept falling, finally had a dexa and then an x-ray of my spine, finding 2 compression fractures to go along with a really whacked hip from a previous fall. I can be stubborn. To be quite honest osteoporosis hadn't even crossed my mind. DUH!

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Dear Sandi:
I have to disagree with you about taking the FRAX test. The DEXA results puts people into an state of hysteria and they think that for sure they are going to break bones and end up hunched over, confined to a hospital bed for the next 6 months with the certainty that will will die if they get a hip fracture etc. That simply is not the case for most people with bad DEXA results. The medical folks prescribe the pills and send the people on their way. Their education comes from the drug reps.

There are other alternatives. First of all the FRAX gives one the odds that will not fracture and that it is not a certainity. It doesn't include a lot of things that affect the outcome since it only used available data at time the study was done. That is, how much do you excercise, were there secondary effects, vitamins, diet, and on and on.

DEXA only tells you your Maserati is smoking. It doesn't tell you what is causing the smoke and it doesn't tell you what the odds of a breakdown are over the next 10 years. Do you go to a mechanic and he throws in some carburator cleaner and sends you on your way?

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Eamenard, you probably read the NOF journal post "How DXA and FRAX are different" and my post about Dr. Dell under discussion "Survey-Have You Taken"? Search will bring up both posts. I don't disagree with you that DEXA is only a part of the picture. I use the DEXA as a guide. But when I was given my diagnosis in -3 range, I didn't get hysterical; nor did I think I was going to crumble or end up in a wheelchair or die from bone loss. I was concerned and took 1 year before I made an osteoporosis plan .... and I revisit that plan every so often. Do you think you are giving the majority of people enough credit for having common sense and educating themselves? Sure, there are people; probably mostly women that become intimidated by an authority figure and may accept medication without making lifestyle changes, but I think women are becoming more assertive; especially the women on the community. Do you think the fact that many people will not make and maintain lifestyle change is one of the reasons that medications are offered? How many people actually work an exercise program and maintain a program that will affect the bone. I understand the pharmaceutical issues. I had the opportunity of meeting Dr. Dell at a meeting. I shared the concerns of community members about meds and long term effects. I asked: What do "you" tell people that are so scared and worried about taking the meds? The answer was anyone that fractured and suffered the pain of a fracture would not refuse a medication. And Ed, what if you are wrong? What if the Actonel I am taking will keep me from a fracture; even if the dexa scores do not improve ... because no one knows for sure. But what is for sure is that the risk of fracture increase dramatically through age 70's-90's. Personally, I am not interested in whether the FRAX tells me my percentage of future fracture. I'm a person; not a statistic, but it seems to be a helpful tool for doctors for patients of a certain age. I'd like the same answers as you would like. I think there are risks with or without the meds .... and with taking alternatives as we don't really know what alternatives are doing in our system any more than we do with the meds. So bottom line is, we weigh both sides of the risks and decide which side ... and take a giant leap of faith. If you don't mind my asking, what range of bone loss do you have ... and what do you do for your bone loss? Thanks. Sandi

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Hey Woody,

Are treadmills truly less effective than walking? I use my treadmill mainly in the winter, due to the snow and ice limitting my walking environment here. Thanks,

Tom

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Hi Tom:
Yes, treadmills are less effective (note I said less rather than not at all) than walking and there are several reasons why.
1. Walking on a treadmill only requires lifting your feet off a moving belt. If you did that on the ground, you would not go anywhere. So you are missing the pushing forces on a treadmill that regular walking provides. These pushing forces are very good for leg, hip, back and abdominal muscle strengthening.
2. Walking on a treadmill provides less balance training because you usually hang-on to the machine. Also there is a different signal pattern being sent from your feet to your brain. (proprioception it is called) With real walking you can vary the train (up, down, angle left and right on slopes) to increase balance challenge or reduce it depending upon your need.
3. Walking on a treadmill will not allow you to easily translate your “conditioning” to real world work or play. If you asked me to get you ready for a 5 mile walk or a mountain hike and you only walked on the treadmill, the chances are you would not make it successfully.

On the good side, a treadmill is better for your muscles, bones and cardiovascular system than sitting on the couch. It is also very good for some people who are severely deconditioned (out of shape) or have had a stroke, MS, Parkinson’s disease or other limitation.

Hope this helps,
Woody

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Woody,

Thanks for that explanation of the differences between treadmill and walking. Good info to know. I'll try to also get out and walk some in the winter. Now that I don't have the black lab pulling me, perhaps I can walk safely in the winter. Our area is very hilly, but it's not always icy, just snow packed most of the time. Walking in walmart is bad for my wallet, so have to limit that!

Tom

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Woody -- I disagree about a treadmill not helping with balance. I have bad hips, and stepping on a stone or in a hole while walking can often cause a very painful wrench. But if you can walk on a treadmill without holding on to anything, and with eyes straight ahead, it does help your balance. I've known people who never got past holding on to the side rails on a treadmill; if they let go, they stumbled and even fell. I can walk on mine very easily at a variety of speeds, and do upper-body exercises with stretchy bands, or hand weights, or just range of motion exercises with my arms, and neck strengthening exercises as well. All of these require good balance. It may not be as good as a hike on a trail, but it's not worthless as a balance tool either.

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Thank you for your informative response. My thyroid is good, I am not sure what a leaky kidney is & how to check for it. I have not taken the FRAX test , so I will look into that. I have purchased The Myth of Osteoporosis & will read it. Thank you again for your help!

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