Skeletal system

Bone consists of a mixture of water (25%), protein (25%) and mineral salts (50%).
Bone formation is called ossification. The hardening and growth process involves replacing cartilage «framework» with mineral salts. The hardening process may not be complete until 30 years of age.
Exercise and habital posture tehrefore, have a fundamental influence over the health of the skeletal system. Incorrect exercise technique coupled with a general poor alignment, will therefore lead to a remodelling process that may reinforce the predominating bad posture.
In pre-puberty years, bone formation is predominantely regulated by human growth hormone (HGH) produced by the pitulary gland (located in the brain). At puberty however, testosterone produced in the male testes and oestrogen produced by the female ovaries begin to exert greater influence.
Calcium is involved in a number of important functions, including muscular contraction, transmission of nervous impulses and regulation fluid balance. Too much or too little calcium in the body can easily upset these processes, thus bones act as calcium reservoirs which can either take up or release calcium depending on the body’s needs. When calcium is scarce, it will be withdrawn from the bones, which is why diets that are chronically low in calcium tend to increase the risk of osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is caused by an imbalance of osteoblast and osteoclast activity. Osteoblast activity decreases causing a drop in bone growth. This leads to a gradual loss of bone density and ultimately gives rise to a skeletal system that is unable to withstand the forces placed upon it.
There may be a number of cacuses of the condition, however one of the biggest is the drop of oestrogen levels associated with the menopause. This makes women more likely to develop the condition than men.
Low calorific intake/overtraining also increase the risk of osteoporosis in females by depleting fat stores which are one of the primary sources of oestrogen. Poor quality diets which are lacking or have an imbalance of minerals and vitamins also increase the risk by limiting the availability of calcium.
Risk factors:
– Female sex
– Calcium deficiency (from diet or poor absorbation)
– Lack of exercise
– Smoking (causes a drop in oestrogen levels)
– Family history
– Certain drugs (alcohol interrupts normal hormonal and calcium regulation)
– Low body fat
– Overtraining

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