Osteoporosis is a disease that affects the bones, making them more fragile and vulnerable to fractures or breaks. Usually it affects people who are over the age of 50, particularly post-menopausal women. They may suffer from fractures of the hip, wrist, or a vertebra of the spine following a stroke, a fall, or a strain. In today’s article, find out about the best exercises for preventing and treating osteoporosis.
What you need to know about osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is the most common type of bone disease today. It increases your risk of suffering from bone fractures or breaks. It occurs when your body loses its ability to produce new bone tissue. Osteoporosis is often genetic, meaning that it can be passed from parent to child. Other causes include not consuming the recommended amount of calcium per day, and menopause is another particularly strong risk factor.
Calcium and vitamin D are nutrients that your body needs in order to produce new bone tissue. If you don’t consume sufficient amounts of these, your bones begin to lose density and become more fragile making them prone to fractures and breaks.
Osteoporosis doesn’t only appear in post-menopausal women. It can also appear in men who are over the age of 50, which is when the body stops producing as much testosterone (the male hormone) as it did.
Other risk factors for osteoporosis can include:
- Being bed-ridden
- Certain other diseases
- Taking certain medications
- Family history of osteoporosis
- Low body weight
- Poor diet
- The absence of menstrual periods (amenorrhea)
In the early stages of osteoporosis there may not be any symptoms, so people don’t realize that they’re suffering from this disease. It’s often only diagnosed when that person falls and breaks a bone. Osteoporosis can also cause pain that’s unexplained, stooped posture (known as kyphosis), or a loss of height.
Exercises for osteoporosis
In addition to keeping a balanced and healthy diet, it’s important that you avoid certain activities to prevent osteoporosis from developing or at least from becoming a very serious problem. The metabolism of your bone tissue can be increased by following an exercise program that includes strength training and low impact on the joints. You need to work both your upper and lower body.
Aerobic exercises like walking, biking, swimming, dancing, or jogging (depending on your individual preference and ability) are also good ideas. This helps you maintain a healthy heart, in addition to strengthening your bones.
Before starting any exercise routine, keep the following recommendations in mind:
- Never completely bend your back, because you could damage your spinal column or even fracture it if your osteoporosis is very advanced.
- Avoid holding your breath for long periods of time. Practice slow, steady breathing.
- Do three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions of each exercise, resting for 30 seconds between each set.
- Try to do these exercises three to five times a week.
- Don’t forget to warm up before you exercise and stretch afterwards.
Walk at a brisk pace for15 minutes without stopping, preferably in a park where you aren’t distracted by shops or waiting for traffic lights.
Lean back in your chair with your feet on the floor and bend one knee, keeping your back straight. Raise and lower the bent leg as many times as you can.
Stand against a wall with your hands pressed against it. Lean your body forward until you are diagonal to the ground, but don’t lift your feet or heels. Bend your elbows and support your chest on your hands. Hold this position for a few seconds before returning to the starting position.
Lean against the wall again, facing out. Spread your legs to shoulder width and bend your knees. Raise and lower you body slowly, keeping your back straight.
Go up and down a flight of stairs. Another option is to use a small exercise step, and step up with your right foot, step back down, and repeat with your left.
Sitting in a chair, put your hands behind your head at the nape of your neck. While inhaling and opening your lungs, push your elbows back as far as you can.
Also while sitting, rest your hands on your hips and breathe in deeply while pushing backwards with your elbows and shoulders.
Lie on a mat on the floor and stretch your right arm over your head to press your palm against the ground for a few seconds. Return that arm to your side, and repeat this exercise with your left arm.
Standing next to a wall, rest your shoulder against it. Push against the wall with your nearest hand. Step forward with the leg that’s closest to the wall and bend that knee. Hold this position for a few minutes before returning to the starting position and repeat with the opposite leg.Lie on your back with your arms out at your side. Bend your legs and support your weight with your feet. Slowly lift your pelvis skyward. Hold that position for a few seconds before returning to the starting position.