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Buff up your bones: Your older self will thank you

When you’re in your 20’s, 30’s, even 40’s – has bone health ever crossed your mind? Chances are it hasn’t. We usually relate bone health and bone diseases like osteoporosis with our grandparents (you know: “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!”) Well, think again.

According to the NIH Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases — National Resource Center, bone mass only grows until you’re around the age of 30. At that point, bones have reached their maximum strength and density, or peak bone mass. Bummer! What’s worse, women tend to experience minimal change in total bone mass between ages 30 and menopause.

Rebekah Rotstein, a top New York City-based Pilates instructor who specializes in bone health and post-rehabilitation, is on a mission to change people’s perceptions on bone health.

Standing at 5 ft. and weighing less than 100 lbs, Rotstein was already at a disadvantage for bones health issues. She was diagnosed with osteoporosis when she was just 28 years old.

“I was devastated,” she said. “I was a ballet dancer so I had a strong identity with my body because of it.”

Fortunately, Rotstein is living proof of how you can overcome osteoporosis. She has since improved her bone density through diet and exercise alone.

She has created a new “Pilates For Buff Bones®” DVD, a one-hour workout designed for women of all ages. It’s full of bone-strengthening techniques focusing on alignment and balance. It mainly targets the rear-side of the body, working the butt, hips, arms and back.

“There are so many things you can do to prevent osteoporosis,” she said. “I want to empower people to feel better about their bodies.”

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, bones get stronger and denser when you make them work. And “work” for bones means handling impact, the weight of your body or more resistance. Two types of exercises that are important for building and maintaining bone density are high- and low-impact weight-bearing (i.e. aerobics, jogging/running, and low- or high-impact aerobics) and muscle-strengthening (like weight lifting, yoga, or Pilates).

“Many people go into a Pilates studio and don’t know where to begin,” she said. “I give a lesson on bone health in a basic way for you to understand.”

Whether you are preventing or treating a bone issue, Pilates For Buff Bones® will help you be more in-tune with bone health. Bonus features include workout tips (Rotstein recommends watching this first!) and so you get the most out of the DVD. She also explains her experience with osteoporosis and her journey to better bone density. You can watch the DVD in full or customize it for a quick session, selecting which body region or goal you want to focus on that day. All you need are 2-3 lb. weights or water bottles, and a mat or carpeted area. Each segment is around 4-8 minutes long, so there’s no excuse to skip a workout! Don’t worry about your fitness level, Rotstein demonstrates modifications to get you through the program.

If you are diagnosed with osteoporosis, Rotstein suggests:
1.    Talk to your doctor. Cancel out any underlying causes, such as thyroid disorders.
2.    Make sure you are not Vitamin D deficient. Your body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium. Calcium keeps your bones and muscles — including your heart –healthy and strong, according to Web MD.
3.    Examine your diet and exercise program. Make sure you are incorporating weight-bearing, resistance and impact workouts regularly into your routine.
4.    Learn more about bone health by visiting American Bone Health and the National Osteoporosis Foundation.

Visit Pilatesforbuffbones.com to purchase a copy.

Be on the look out for a Pilates for Buff Bones® class near you. Rotstein is offering instructor trainer programs, so there will be a new out cropping of classes. Currently Pilates for Buff Bones® is offered at Kinected in New York City.

Take a sneak peak at Rotstein’s Pilates for Buff Bones® below.

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