If you have osteoporosis then you understand that the loss of calcium and other minerals in your bones means you may be more susceptible to fractures. With an estimated 1.4 million Canadians and 10.2 million American adults, it has become a major health concern for people 60-years and up. Women who are post-menopausal have a higher instance of this serious condition. Osteoporosis is a leading cause of fractures in the hip and spine.
Take heart, there is a lot you can do to prevent further bone loss. Plus, you can improve the strength of your muscles and bones by committing to a simple exercise program. Before you start, consider consulting with your doctor first if exercise is a new avenue for you.
Not all types of exercises are recommended for those with osteoporosis, however, you might be surprised at the wide variety of options. Osteoporosis Canada states that exercise is one of the most important ways by which you can protect your bones and spine while slowing down the rate of bone loss. As we age, our lives become more sedentary, which puts the body in a state of imbalance that translates to weak muscles, poor posture, and further bone mass loss.
The many benefits of starting an exercise regimen are:
- Overall improved fitness
- Slowing down of further bone loss
- Retaining existing bone tissue
- Improved muscle strength
- Increased joint mobility
- Improved balance and coordination
- Reduces chronic pains
- Improved overall mood and vitality
Deciding Which Exercise Program is Right for You
As mentioned above, it’s always a good idea to discuss new exercise programs with your doctor. Some of the issues that need to be taken into consideration are:
- Your age
- Your stage of osteoporosis
- Prescribed and over-the-counter medications taken each day
- Overall fitness and mobility
- Additional medical conditions
Exercises and Activities to Avoid
Since people with osteoporosis have weak bones that are prone to fractures, there are specific exercise routines and activities to avoid. For example, traditional situps that cause a forward flex of the spine or exercises that involve sudden forceful movements that are used in high-powered Zumba classes are not recommended. Jogging, jumping, and running are not recommended as they may increase the risk of injury. Although walking is excellent for overall health, it does not specifically improve bone health unless doing so at a higher speed, which is not recommended. Walking, in general, is still a good practice with some trepidations.
At all costs, avoid any activities that increase the risk for falling, tripping or slipping. That would include fast walking, multiple staircases, uneven surfaces, rough terrain, and rushing anywhere. Take your time and always remain alert when doing any exercise or activity.
Exercises that Will Help Improve Bone and Muscle Health
Building muscle strength that can support bones will help prevent injuries. If you do not exercise, bone density is likely to get worse, which often leads to fractures.
The exercise groups that work best at strengthening muscles are:
- Weight-bearing aerobics
- Resistance/body strength training
- Posture, balance, body strength, and flexibility
Exercising weekly in all three groups is the ideal combination for overall improvement. You can also consider adding water aerobics to keep your routine interesting. Exercising in water can keep you loose, limber, and relaxed.
Weight-bearing Aerobic Exercises
Weight-bearing exercises force you to work against gravity and directly help strengthen bones in the legs, hips, and lower spine by reducing mineral loss. This group of exercises are done on the feet and include dancing, low-impact aerobics, elliptical training, and stair climbing. Swimming and cycling are also excellent, however, they don’t provide the weight-bearing aspects that will slow down with the mineral loss in the bones.
Resistance/Body Strength Training
When you use resistance training, like light weight lifting, you will be protecting your bones and aid in the goal of preventing fractures. According to Webmd.com, studies show that strength training can help prevent bone loss and possibly help build new bone mass.
Posture, balance, and flexibility
As we age, our balance, flexibility, and posture often change and become less agile than what we were at younger stages in our lives. Yet they are important to maintaining a strong core, and eliminating or reducing aches and pains. Yoga, Tai Chi, stretching, and posture exercises can be extremely beneficial to your holistic health as well as osteoporosis-related issues.
Sample Workout Routine
The specific amount of time you have or are willing to spend is a personal decision. However, this can be used as a sample of how you might construct your weekly exercise commitments.
- Aerobic Activity (2-3 times per week): 45-60 minutes
- Resistance Training (2-3 times per week): Eight to ten repetitions of exercises that strengthen your core, lower legs, and arms.
- Balance Exercises (1-3 times per week): Perform each balance exercise for a few counts each. Start by holding for the count of 30 and increase the length of the hold every week. Challenge yourself!
- Stretch (Daily): Do not pull - gentle stretch from your torso and each limb and remember to breathe into the motion. When you hold your breath, it limits the body’s ability to go further into the stretch.
Drink water during and after each workout. In fact, drinking water throughout each day will benefit every part of your body. Make it a water cocktail and add a slice of lemon, lime, grapefruit or a couple of berries!
Where to Find Quality Exercise Gear
At Healthcare Solutions, we scout for the best products at the most cost-effective prices. If you do not see what you are looking for, contact us immediately. We are an online, customer-driven healthcare store that is in business to provide one-stop shopping.
Osteoporosis is a debilitating condition that can generally be prevented or improved upon. We have two locations in the Edmonton, Alberta area for added convenience or simply shop online! We are in business to support your health!
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