Osteoporosis (porous bone) is a bone disease that can affect us as we age. Osteoporosis is a disease process where the bone deteriorates, stops building or both. This results in brittle bones, making them prone to potential breaks/fractures during an injury, fall, bump, or minor stress like coughing. Women have a higher risk of osteoporosis than men, especially after menopause. According to The International Osteoporosis Foundation, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men, experience osteoporotic fractures 3. In our youth, bones are in a constant state of renewal; building bone faster than breaking it down. This process, in turn, increases bone mass. Once we reach our late twenties to early thirties our body has reached its peak bone mass and this system starts to slow down.
One of the best ways to strengthen bones and prevent osteoporosis is by exercising regularly. Even if you already have osteoporosis, exercise can help maintain the bone mass you have and further strengthen it. The three best types of exercise for osteoporosis are weight bearing, resistance training, and flexibility training.
Weight bearing is an activity that places weight on the joints. Examples include: walking, jogging, dancing, tennis, stair climbing or hiking. One can also perform low weight bearing exercises such as the stair-step machine, walking on a treadmill or grass, and low impact aerobics. Weight bearing exercises should be performed 5 times a week at moderate to vigorous intensity for a minimum of 30 minutes 1. You can always consult with an Ageility trainer to determine an appropriate regimen for you.
Resistance training involves free weights, weight machines, resistance bands, or water resistance. This type of exercise should be performed 3 times a week 1. Resistance training can be challenging due to the additional weight or added force. This type of training works a variety of muscles in your arms, chest, shoulders, legs, stomach, and back. Be sure to space out your resistance training days for each muscle group with a minimum of two days in between to insure optimum recovery.
Flexibility and balance exercises increase the pliability within your joints by increasing your range of motion, allowing for more agility. Flexibility can help protect joints and prevent injury. Types of flexibility and balance training are stretching regularly, yoga, tai chi, and self-myofascial release. Be careful when preforming stretches that involve twisting at the waist.
Useful exercise tips:
Always be sure to start with a warm up through easy gentle movements such as body weight exercises, stretching, or slow walking. This helps regulate proper blood circulation to your muscles. When beginning your exercise routine always perform each exercise in a slow and steady motion stabilizing the core and spine for 2-3 sets and 6-10 repetitions. When performing these exercises, you should not feel any pain or discomfort. If you do, be sure to inform your Ageility trainer so they can modify your workout. Make sure you are breathing regularly! Do not hold your breath while lifting or lowering weight, but rather inhale during the easier portion of the movement and exhale during the more difficult portion. You should perform resistance training three times a week with a two-day break between muscle groups. Before you progress in weight, be sure to consult with your Ageility trainer.
Please consult with your primary care provider before starting a new workout regimen. Everyone can benefit from weight bearing exercises, resistance training, flexibility training, and balance exercises. However, we may all start at a different level of difficulty/ability. Be sure to contact an Ageility physical therapist or personal trainer to get you on the right path! Let’s build bones together!
By Jessica Lime
13 Types of Exercise That Can Prevent Osteoporosis. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.kindredhealthcare.com/resources/blog-kindred-spirit/2018/06/04/3-types-of-exercise-that-can-prevent-osteoporosis
2Eastnewyorknews. (2020, February 05). Silver Sneakers Becomes An Official Partner of New York for Seniors and Will Provide Fitness Sessions at the New York for Seniors 2020 Health & Wellness Events. Retrieved from https://eastnewyork.com/silver-sneakers-becomes-an-official-partner-of-new-york-for-seniors-and-will-provide-fitness-sessions-at-the-new-york-for-seniors-2020-health-wellness-events/
3Sözen, T., Özışık, L., & Başaran, N. Ç. (2017). An overview and management of osteoporosis. European journal of rheumatology, 4(1), 46–56. https://doi.org/10.5152/eurjrheum.2016.048