Exercise & Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a common condition that affects one’s bone density. It results in bones that are fragile and prone to breaks. It is very common in postmenopausal women, but can occur in men as well. While some of the changes that occur are age related there are steps that you can take to help prevent this condition or reduce the severity if a diagnosis has already taken place.
Nutrition: Eating foods that are rich in Calcium and fortified with Vitamin D can help to keep your bones strong and healthy. Be sure to work with your doctor and take advice regarding any additional supplements or diet recommendations that they may have.
Exercise for Prevention: If you have so far avoided a diagnosis of osteoporosis that is wonderful! This means you have a few more options available to you in terms of exercise types. Weight bearing exercises are the most beneficial to help keep your bones strong. If you know you may be at risk for osteoporosis, put an emphasis on weight bearing exercises. Your muscles pull on your bones when you use them and there is weight and demand placed on your bones. Your bones will build themselves up in response to the stress placed upon them. Activities like walking, running and strengthening exercises are all great options for you. The key is to find things you enjoy so you stick with them!
Exercising with Osteoporosis: If you already have a diagnosis of osteoporosis, exercise is still important to help reduce the severity and to help build up your bones. In addition to taking in proper and well balanced nutrition, exercise is a key part of keeping osteoporosis from worsening and to reduce the severity.
Things you should be doing: Weight bearing exercises are especially important for you, therefore swimming, as a form of cardio, is not ideal. Walking is a great choice of cardio for you. Strengthening exercises are also great for putting ‘good stress’ on the bones. Exercises like squats, wall push ups, and resistance band exercises are great for you. Balance exercises are also very important to reduce the risk of falls. If a fall occurs, fractures are very common in people with osteoporosis. Lastly, exercises that work on posture are important as prolonged poor posture may cause the vertebrae of the spine to break down. As always, watch your form and be sure to perform all exercises with proper technique. If you need help, working with a personal trainer is a good choice.
Things to avoid: High impact activities are also not recommended for those with osteoporosis as it may cause fractures to occur. Examples of high impact activities include: jogging, jumping, contact sports or activities that leave you at a high risk for falls. Additionally you will want to avoid any deep twisting and bending movements of the back, these movements can place a lot of stress on the spine and cause fractures.