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? 4 Types
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 the four types of exercises.
- 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 exercises 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.
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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."
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