By: Chris Parchmann and the Ageility Team
Getting in shape is always a great idea, but it pays to be well informed about some of the potential pitfalls and challenges that might get in the way of a more active and enjoyable lifestyle. At Ageility, we are passionate about helping adults unlock their physical potential no matter their age or condition, and we are focused on crafting great training solutions to meet each individual athlete’s specific needs. It’s helpful to partner with experts like our therapists and trainers to understand how to avoid injuries, overcome physical challenges, or even to understand some of the hidden benefits of a more active lifestyle, such as reducing the threat of falls and fractures because of osteoporosis.
What Is Osteoporosis & Who Is at Risk?
Osteoporosis is a chronic condition that can impact older adults and is caused by a natural reduction in bone mineral density and bone quality. It is a common condition, and although postmenopausal women over the age of 70 need to be especially vigilant, anyone over fifty should be aware of its potential effects since it can lead to increased frailty, falls and debilitating fractures.
Fortunately, osteoporosis can be treated in a number of ways including various medications, diet, vitamin supplements, and exercise. Although you should consult your doctor on a full course of preventative measures, exercise plays an essential role in the treatment of osteoporosis.
Jogging & Resistance Training
Exercising on a regular basis has been shown to improve bone mineral density. Several studies have shown that resistance training exercise programs and weight-bearing activities such as jogging are effective for maintaining bone mass that resists deterioration and osteoporosis. Fitness programs with older men and postmenopausal women can actually change bone loss to bone gain with regular training over time.
We generally recommend resistance training two to three nonconsecutive days each week. Multi-joint and single-joint movements are both effective. Exercises that load and strengthen the musculoskeletal system, particularly prone areas of the wrist, hip, and spine, are important when treating osteoporosis.
An example of a good lower body multi-joint exercise is the squat, which involves the musculature of the hip, knee, and ankle joints and provides an axial load through the spine (as opposed to a single joint exercise like the seated leg extension that only uses the knee joint and is not weight-bearing).
An example upper body exercise is the overhead press that loads musculature of the shoulder, elbow, and wrist joints while also loading the spine. Each exercise must induce some type of overload to promote adaptation and bone formation.
Do Multiple Sets and Take Your Time!
Performing single to multiple sets for a variety of exercises that comprise of major muscle groups including the hips, legs, chest, upper and lower back, abdominals, shoulders and arms are appropriate. Movement speeds are of a slower tempo lasting up to 5 seconds per repetition and a full range of motion movements. Avoid movements that cause discomfort and end ranges of motion. Older adults may train with a wide range of repetitions depending on physical condition and experience. Beginners and less fit individuals can start with light loads that allow many repetitions. Advanced individuals can perform fewer repetitions with greater loads. The load typically dictates the number of repetitions in strength training and anywhere from 5 – 15 repetitions is suitable for older adults.
Ageility Is Here to Help
Preventing or reducing the impact of osteoporosis is just one of the many reasons why it’s always a good idea to get into better shape. If some of this seems complex, you may find it helpful to connect with a certified expert, like one of our Ageility therapists or trainers. Our team members are passionate about helping adults of all ages to unlock their physical potential and enjoy the benefits of a healthier and more active life. Contact us to see how we can help craft a fitness program for your specific goals and personal needs.