How To Exercise Safely & Effectively With Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis, a major cause of disability in older women, is a disorder which causes the bones of the body to become less dense. This often leads to painful fractures, instability and a general decline in full body mobility.

These changes often trigger a “snowball effect”, making everyday tasks more and more difficult, ultimately leading to a visible drop in overall independence. More often than not, loved ones are left with no choice but to intervene and help pick up some of the slack. This adds unwanted stress and hardship to both the victim and their loved one(s).

Exercise is considered a very effective means to stimulate bone growth, and delay the progression of Osteoporosis, regardless of an individual’s stage in life [1].

But what are the most appropriate types? How often should it be done? How long should it take? Does it need to be supervised by a professional?

Allow me to help you answer these very important questions.

Before Getting Started

I recommend consulting with a doctor and if necessary, running some tests before jumping into a workout routine.

A bone density measurement helps determine how far along the disease has progressed and provides valuable information regarding the best way to proceed with treatment.

The Best Exercise Types For Osteoporosis

In a nutshell, there are three types of activities I recommend for individuals with Osteoporosis:

Resistance Training

This includes using free weights, resistance bands and a person’s own body weight to strengthen all major muscle groups. Contrary to popular belief, lifting weights (especially heavier weights) STRENGTHENS bones. It does NOT make them weaker.

Weight machines can also be used; but it is important to ensure that the spine does not become twisted or compromised during any movement.

Mobility Training

Moving each of the joints through their full range of motion translates to more efficient muscles. Stretches and other mobility drills are best performed after the muscles are warmed up; typically near the end of an exercise session.

Try to avoid stretches that flex the spine or cause bending at the waist. Each stretch/drill should be done gently and slowly, without bouncing.

Stability & Balance Training

Stability and balance exercises help muscles work together in a way that prevents falls (one of the leading causes of hospitalization in older adults). When done regularly, simple exercises such as standing on one leg, or movement-based exercises such as tai chi can have a tremendous effect on improving stability and balance.

How Often Should Exercise Be Done?

The answer to this question depends largely on the stage at which the disease is in, age, and availability. In most cases, 2.5 hours of moderately intense exercise (30 minutes on most days of the week) is enough.

Alternatively, 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous exercise (15 minutes on most days of the week) may also be appropriate and helpful. This intensity level is not well suited for just anyone. Make sure to consult with a professional before engaging in this type of exercise.

Regardless of which option selected, a combination of resistance, mobility, and stability training must be included for the best results.

Work With A Pro

At Stephen Fitness & Rehabilitation, we offer personal training and physiotherapy services specifically designed for individuals dealing with Osteoporosis.

Our mission is to improve the strength, mobility and independence of each and every client in a friendly, empathetic, and non intimidating atmosphere.

Contact us to learn more about how we can help you or your loved one become stronger more mobile and independent in the comfort of their own home!

References:

[1] Benedetti, M. G., Furlini, G., Zati, A., & Letizia Mauro, G. (2018). The effectiveness of physical exercise on bone density in osteoporotic patients. BioMed research international2018.