Osteoporosis (loss of bone mass and density) is a concern, or should be, for all of us.
If we don’t eat healthy and don’t get the right kind of exercise in our daily lives, we risk losing bone mass. Loss of bone and the complications that come with it can be debilitating, sometimes worse. But staving off the threat of thin bones is much easier than you think.
There are 3 kinds of physical exercises that are needed to build and maintain healthy bones. These are:
What does “weight-bearing” truly mean?
This is any activity you do that has your feet and legs supporting your body’s weight. Some examples of weight-bearing exercises for osteoporosis are:
- Stair climbing
Some sports and activities like swimming and cycling are great for building your heart and lungs. However, they do nothing for bone health because they are not weight-bearing exercise. With these types of exercise, your body is being supported by something other than your legs and feet, such as the water or the bicycle.
Walking as little as three to five miles per week can help build bone health.
What is resistance exercise for osteoporosis?
Resistance means working against the weight of another object. The reason resistance helps with osteoporosis is that it strengthens muscle and actually builds bone. In many studies it has been shown that resistance exercise increases bone density and reduces the risk of fractures.
Some in-home resistance exercises for osteoporosis can include:
- Free weights
- Resistance tubing
- Water exercises (in your own pool if you have one)
Resistance exercise should be done two or three times per week for best results. Working all your different muscles is ideal. This includes chest, back, arms, shoulders, legs and abdominal muscles. For the proper amount of weight and appropriate number of repetitions, it is best to seek the guidance of a qualified trainer or coach.
Why do flexibility exercises help with osteoporosis?
Having flexible joints helps prevent injury.
Some flexibility exercises for osteoporosis include:
- Regular stretches
- Tai Chi
All stretches should be performed once your body is warm, say after a 5-10 minute walk. Regular stretches should be done to the point of slight pulling, NOT pain or extreme discomfort. A certified personal trainer can demonstrate and teach the proper way and which joints to stretch.
The most important thing to remember about exercise for osteoporosis is safety.
To be sure you are safely performing exercise, keep these rules in mind:
- Talk to your doctor before you begin exercising especially if you already know you have bone loss.
- Weight-bearing exercise does not have to be, and should not be, high impact if you already have weakened bones. Running, jogging, jumping and similar exercise may lead to fractures and put unwanted stress on your spine. Better choices for weight-bearing exercise include walking, dancing, low-impact aerobics (no hopping or jumping) and gardening.
There are many ways to exercise effectively and safely. To learn more about what YOU can do to keep bone loss at bay and to improve your overall bone health, consult an expert such as a certified personal trainer.
If you live in the East Valley of Phoenix, Arizona and are looking for ways to prevent or reduce osteoporosis, contact Certified Personal Trainer Julia Johnson, with Life in Motion Fitness. Life in Motion Fitness provides in-home personal training sessions to residents of Chandler, Sun Lakes, Gilbert, Mesa and Tempe to help you learn how to exercise at home efficiently and safely. The expertise provided will help you improve your health and get your “life in motion”.
Visit www.LifeInMotionFitness.com for more information.