Insightsthe blog of Porter Hills
Exercise and Osteoporosis
Jocelyn Bunce, MPA, ACSM-CPT- Fitness Specialist
What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a bone disease that affects many people, it weakens bones making them brittle and more likely to fracture. Many believe that weak bones and becoming frail is a part of growing old, but that is simply not true. As we age, we may begin to decrease our physical activity out of fear that we are more likely to obtain an injury or because we are no longer able to enjoy the physical activity that we did when we were younger. Risk factors for developing Osteoporosis include low Calcium and Vitamin D, smoking, a sedentary lifestyle, excessive bone fractures and excessive alcohol consumption. Osteoporosis is a preventable disease and exercise is key in maintaining bone health. We can also keep our bones strong by ensuring we consume enough Calcium through Vitamin D enriched foods and limited sun exposure.
No matter what our age we need to continue to exercise, not only for physical health but also our mental and bone health. Low-impact weight bearing exercises are the best way to maintain and improve bone health. Weight bearing exercise comes in many different forms so it’s easier than you may think to find something that you will enjoy.
The following are examples of low-impact, weight bearing exercises that help strengthen our muscles and bones.
- Walking is a great way to strengthen your muscles and bones, it requires minimal equipment and can be done anywhere. All you need is a pair of sturdy, comfortable shoes and comfortable clothing that you can move in.
- Water Aerobics – using the gentle resistance of the water is a great way to get a full body workout and strengthen your lungs and heart by increasing your heart rate. The weightlessness of the water helps reduce joint pain and increased movement while at the same time challenging our muscles and bones with resistance.
- Resistance training exercises are a great way to keep muscles and bones strong. Consider joining a senior fitness class or hiring a credentialed, knowledgeable personal trainer to develop a fitness program that you can complete at home.
- Maintaining and improving balance is key. Maintaining your balance and performing regular balance exercises will make you less likely to lose your balance and fall which can increase your risk of injury or fracture.
If you’ve been diagnosed with Osteoporosis it’s important to keep moving! Many believe that exercising after such a diagnosis will lead to an increased risk of bone fractures but the opposite is true. If we keep moving we will help to keep our bone density which in turn will decrease the likelihood of a fracture.