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Osteoporosis & Exercise

Osteoporosis doesn’t mean you have to wrap yourself in cottonwool !

Actually the best thing you can do is get exercising and wrap those bones in muscle.

If you have osteopenia (the precursor to osteoporosis) or have osteoporosis then moving through exercise is a great form of medicine.

The right exercise can slow the progression of osteoporosis and help protect bones that are deteriorating.

The right types of exercise protect bones by building muscle in the body creating a cushion around them. Additionally the exercise will strengthen bones making them stronger and less prone to breaking. Exercise can also improve balance, cognitive and reactive responses reducing the risk of falling and injuries.

So what are the right exercises if you have osteoporosis..

There is no single exercise plan that's best for everyone with osteoporosis. The workouts you choose should be unique to you and based on your:

  • Fracture risk

  • Muscle strength

  • Range of motion

  • Level of physical activity

  • Current level of Fitness

So ultimately it depends on your existing baseline; Are you already pretty active, do you run or weight train regularly or are you just starting out. If you already exercise regularly then you can continue as is and work to progress your workouts. You may want to assess if there are any activities you are involved in that have a high risk of injury knowing that you are more prone to breaking bones.

If you are starting out then start slowly and build up over time. If you’re not sure how to exercise, maybe join a class so you are under the guidance of an instructor and you can learn as you go. Personal trainers are also a great way to learn good technique.

There are two types of weight-bearing exercise: high-impact and low-impact.

High-impact includes workouts like:

  • Step aerobics

  • Jogging

  • Tennis

Low impact are less risky and include workouts such as;

  • Elliptical training machines

  • Walking (either outside or on a treadmill machine)

  • Weight training (my personal favourite)

Weight training can be high or low impact. Low impact is recommended for anyone with osteoporosis. The main thing is to know your limits. Form and technique are important to get the most out of your workouts.

Workouts should focus on building muscle to protect your bones with the added benefit of building strength and balance. These workouts can include basic moves such as standing and rising on your toes, lifting your own body weight with exercises like push-ups or squats, and using equipment such as:

  • Elastic exercise bands

  • Free weights

  • Weight machines

Myth busters….

Some women are concerned they will build too much muscle by lifting weights or they won’t burn as many calories as a cardio session ..

Controlled weight training will not turn you into Arnold Schwarzenegger, it will enhance your body shape and tone along with make you feel fitter and stronger.

When it comes to calorie burn from a weight training workout, calories burn at a higher rate even after the session is complete. Additionally muscle burns more calories even when resting.

If you can make this your workout of choice it's a win win situation; managing the risk of osteoporosis whilst giving you stronger bones, a toned body and higher calorie burn.


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