Older women are very vulnerable to the bone disorder osteoporosis. Generally, osteoporosis weakens bones, leaving you more vulnerable to fractures, particularly in the hips and spine. Exercise can be very effective in helping you to prevent damage and lessen the effects of osteoporosis.
What are the benefits of exercise on osteoporosis?
Bone is alive. It responds to changes just like any other tissue in your body. This is no different in the case of exercise. When you exercise, you generally build up bone density and bone strength. Most people’s bone density peaks in their thirties and then decreases. However, people over the age of thirty can avoid losing bone mass through exercise.
In addition to maintaining and generating bone density, exercise can help osteoporosis, as well as:
- Strengthen your muscles
- Improve your balance
- Lessen your chances of breaking a bone
- Help with your posture
- Alleviate pain
What exercises should I do if I have osteoporosis?
Before you even start exercising, remember to proceed with extreme caution. If you already have a fracture, your chances of getting another are very high. Seek an experienced personal trainer who can help you avoid injury.
Always remember to start slowly. Lift light weights, then build the weight and the number of repetitions you do. Try not to judge yourself if you can’t do very many at first; being gentle is more critical. Especially if you already have fractures or broken bones.
Your complete exercise program should include:
- Weight-bearing exercises. These exercises make your body work against gravity. This helps build your bone strength. Activities that involve strength training include walking, climbing stairs, tennis, and dancing. You should always include weights when you do cardio or intensity training. Otherwise, you might not improve your bone mass. Intensive impact exercises are more effective than low-impact exercises, but you should only do what you can do safely.
- Muscle-strengthening exercises. You can use weights or your body weight to use gravity to increase muscle mass and bone density. Exercises that focus on muscle strength include weights, resistance bands, and press-ups. Target your weakest areas, such as your spine, hips, and wrists. Try to incorporate strength training twice a week.
- Balance exercises. These exercises improve your ability to prevent falls and stay upright. You can incorporate things like tai chi to train your balance. Aim to do balance exercises two times a week.
- Flexibility exercises. Keeping your joints mobile and your muscles flexible is crucial in injury prevention. You can do such things as yoga and general stretching to keep up your flexibility. You should stretch five to ten minutes before and after every workout.
While all of those exercises are great for osteoporosis, the most important are weight-bearing exercises and muscle strengthening exercises. Both should be the focus of your workout plan. They are the most effective in strengthening your muscles and increasing muscle mass.
While exercise is excellent treatment management, it is just one part of osteoporosis treatment. You should also consider calcium and vitamin D supplements. Your doctor will also probably prescribe therapy to improve your bone density.
You may lose bone density anyway. Medical conditions, menopause, and lifestyle details like illnesses, hormonal disorders, tobacco consumption, and alcohol abuse can cause you to lose bone mass. As a result, you may need to undergo a mineral bone density test or require further treatments.
Exercises to avoid
If you have osteoporosis, you definitely should not do these exercises:
- High-impact exercise. Doing exercises where you have to jump, run, or jog can lead to fractures easily. Try not to do fast and out-of-control movements. Instead, focus on slow and mindful movements. However, if you are fit and can move, feel free to incorporate higher impact exercise carefully.
- Bends and twists. Avoid bending or twisting at the waist. Instead, try to keep your spine straight or gently bent but never bend forward. Forward bends are the most common way that people with osteoporosis get spinal fractures. This is especially true if you have had an osteoporotic fracture.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Harvard Health Publishing: "Effective exercises for osteoporosis."
Mayo Clinic: "Exercising with osteoporosis: Stay active the safe way."
National Osteoporosis Foundation: "Osteoporosis Exercise for Strong Bones."
NIH Osteoporosis and Related Bone Disease National Resource Center: "Exercise for Your Bone Health."
Top What Is the Best Exercise for Osteoporosis Related Articles
OA of the Knee ExercisesLearn about osteoarthritis and exercises that relieve knee osteoarthritis pain, stiffness and strengthen the knee joint and surrounding muscles through this picture slideshow.
Osteoarthritis vs. Osteoporosis Differences and SimilaritiesArthritis is defined as painful inflammation and joint stiffness. Osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis and the most common cause of chronic joint pain, affecting over 25 million Americans. Osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis that involves the entire joint. Osteoporosis is not a type of arthritis. It is a disease that mainly is caused by a loss of bone tissue that is not limited to the joint areas. It is possible for one person to have both osteoarthritis and osteoporosis.
The differences in the signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis and osteoporosis include; pain, stiffness, and joint swelling, joint deformity, crackle sounds when the joint is moving, and walking with a limp. Osteoporosis is called the "silent disease" because it can progress for years without signs and symptoms before it is diagnosed, severe back pain, bone fractures, height loss, and difficulty or inability to walk. The differences in the causes of osteoarthritis and osteoporosis are that osteoarthritis usually is caused by wear and tear on the joints. Osteoporosis usually is caused by one or more underlying problems, for example, calcium and vitamin D deficiencies. Treatment for osteoarthritis and osteoporosis are not the same. There is no cure for osteoarthritis or osteoporosis.
OsteoporosisLearn about osteoporosis, a condition characterized by the loss of bone density, which leads to an increased risk of bone fracture. Unless one experiences a fracture, a person may have osteoporosis for decades without knowing it. Treatment for osteoporosis may involve medications that stop bone loss and increase bone strength and bone formation, as well as quitting smoking, regular exercise, cutting back on alcohol intake, and eating a calcium- and vitamin D-rich balanced diet.
Osteoporosis SlideshowOsteoporosis is a disease characterized by low bone mass and density. Osteoporosis causes symptoms of weak, thin, fragile bones. Learn the treatments and medications used to fight osteoporosis, as well as prevention tips.
Osteoporosis QuizWhat are the causes, symptoms, and risk factors of osteoporosis? Quiz yourself about vitamin deficiency, maintaining bone density, and preventing osteoporosis-related fractures.
RA Friendly ExercisesRegular exercise boosts fitness and helps reverse joint stiffness for people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). WebMD demonstrates helpful exercises to get you started.
Super Foods for Your BonesWhat sweetener is loaded with calcium? These bone-building super foods can help stave off osteoporosis, and many of them will surprise you.
What Are the Best Exercises for Osteoporosis?What is osteoporosis and how can exercise help? Learn the best exercises for living with osteoporosis and how exercise can improve bone density.
What Are the Best Ways to Prevent Osteoporosis?Bones are uniquely constructed to carry the weight of our bodies and to perform other functions, such as growing blood cells. They are living structures that are continually being built and broken down. The best way way to prevent osteoporosis is to get enough calcium, vitamin D and exercise.
What Is The Main Cause of Osteoporosis?Osteoporosis is a bone disorder. Learn more about osteoporosis, what causes it, common symptoms, how it's diagnosed, and what you can do to treat it.