Osteoporosis and Exercise: Keeping Your Bones Healthy – Exercise Safety Considerations and Resources
I have posted several blogs about Osteoporosis and exercise, and seemingly this is a topic that I get questions and comments from readers quite frequently. Over the years, I have had numerous clients with osteoporosis, and we’ve adjusted their Pilates workout programs to keep them safe based on their Dexa-scan results. I’m also reaching the age, where I need to be a little more careful with my own bone-density issues.
But with this said, I don’t necessarily consider myself an “osteoporosis expert.” So when I get specific questions about personal health issues, or osteoporosis and exercise, especially from readers all over the globe who cannot come into the studio and work with me personally, it’s nice to be able to refer people to a professional I trust to help answer questions.
Sherry Betz, PT, GCS, CEEAA, PMA®-CPT is a leader in the field of exercise, Pilates, and osteoporosis. Her company, Thera Pilates® offers Physical Therapy and Osteoporosis Programs.
American Bone Health is a non-profit organization that provides education, resources, and tools to help you understand bone disease and bone health.
Here’s a helpful Poster from American Bone Health for improving your bone-healthy habits during everyday activities. Regardless of whether you have osteoporosis or not, these tips and exercises can benefit your whole-body health!
A few key things to remember about Osteoporosis and exercise:
- Improved posture, breathing, and body mechanics will help keep space between your bones. (More space = a reduced risk of fracture.)
- “Impact” is relative to what is appropriate for your body, health, and current bone density.
- While “impact” helps build bone density, without good body mechanics you still might be increasing your risk of fracture. There may be plenty of safer exercises to get started with that are still weight-bearing without impact to help improve bone-health for your Osteoporosis exercise program.
- To reduce your risk of fracture, exercise guidelines may include not bending your body forward, sideways, or excessive twisting. (This may depend on your Dexa-Scan results.)
- Your whole-body is affected by Osteoporosis. It’s not just your hip, or your wrist, or your low back. If the larger bones are experiencing bone loss – the smaller bones are too! It’s just easiest to measure the change in the larger bones.
- Always seek professional advice to ensure that what you’re doing is safe, approved, and appropriate to help improve your bone-health and whole-body health.
You can also find some good general information on Osteoporosis and exercise for bone health through the National Institutes of Health. The best type of exercise for your bones is weight-bearing, which forces you to work against gravity. This can include: weight training, walking, hiking, jogging, climbing stairs, tennis, and dancing.
Walking is important, as it’s the foundation for any other types of weight-bearing exercise you plan to do. How well you’re walking (with the right muscles working from your head to your toes) can affect the benefits you are getting from your efforts. If you’re interested in improving your healthy stride – and plan to incorporate walking into your weekly workout program for improving your bone density, check out my book Pilates-Walk: Tips, Techniques, and Exercises for a Healthy Stride.
Ultimately, even with a wealth of online resources out there for Osteoporosis and exercise, articles to read, exercise resources, and options. Don’t rely on Dr. Google to make safe and appropriate Osteoporosis exercise choices for your body! Consult with your real, live physician, be conscientious with the guidelines you are given, and get started by working with a qualified exercise specialist, or Pilates teacher, who knows how to help design a safe and Osteoporosis appropriate exercise program for you!
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