Osteoporosis is a condition during which the bones become brittle and weak, leading one to easily fracture during normal activities. Approximately 10 million people have osteoporosis in the United States alone, and another 44 million have low bone density, which puts them at an increased risk of developing osteoporosis over time.
There are controllable and uncontrollable risk factors that make one more prone to developing osteoporosis, but one thing is for sure: one of the best ways to battle the repercussions of osteoporosis is to exercise. Research shows that a combination of three specific types of exercises – weight-bearing exercises, resistance training and balance exercises – make for the most effective exercise program for someone looking to stave off bone loss and preserve bone density (Benedetti, 2018).
Not all exercises provide the same advantages for your bones and some exercises may not be suitable for someone diagnosed with osteoporosis (Mayo Clinic, 2021). Selecting safe, appropriate exercises can contribute to slowing bone loss, encouraging new bone formation, and enhancing strength, posture, and balance. In this article, we'll walk you through the best exercises for individuals with osteoporosis and how they're incorporated into Wellen's personalized exercise program.
What types of exercises are best for osteoporosis?
The best exercise program for someone with osteoporosis is designed to help improve their bone density, increase strength, and reduce the risk of falls and fractures. Wellen's workout program focuses on all of these aspects by placing significant emphasis on weight-bearing, resistance, balance and posture exercises.
Weight-bearing exercises for osteoporosis
Weight-bearing exercises are essential for stimulating bone growth and increasing bone density. It's important to note that while high-impact weight-bearing exercises such as running and jumping may be appropriate and beneficial for women with higher bone density, high-impact weight-bearing exercises are generally not recommended if you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis (Mayo Clinic, 2021). Instead, if you've been diagnosed with osteoporosis, it's best to focus on including low-impact weight-bearing exercises into your workout regime. Examples of weight-bearing exercises that are safe for people with osteoporosis include walking, squats, forward step-ups and tai chi exercises like pet the tiger.
Resistance exercises for osteoporosis
Resistance training is crucial for building and maintaining bone (Kitsuda, 2021). Resistance exercises involve working against a force, such as weights, resistance bands, or bodyweight to increase the challenge on the body. Resistance exercises help strengthen muscles, which can support and protect the bones. Examples of resistance exercises that are safe for someone with osteoporosis include: bicep curls with band, standing hip abduction with band and standing scapular retraction with external rotation with resistance.
Posture exercises for osteoporosis
Poor posture can put extra stress on the bones and increase the risk of vertebral compression fractures. Wellen's posture exercises for people with osteoporosis focus on strengthening the muscles that support good posture, such as the core and back extensor muscles, while also ensuring that they are safe and appropriate for someone with weakened bones. Some examples of posture exercises for someone with osteoporosis include: isometric thoracic extension against wall, standing scapular retraction and bridges.
Balance exercises for osteoporosis
Balance exercises are an essential component of any osteoporosis exercise program. While it's important to build and maintain bone density, it's equally important to prevent the falls that often result in fractures. Balance exercises improve stability and reduce the risk of falls. Here are some examples of balance exercises that are safe for someone with osteoporosis and are included in Wellen's program: paint the floor (with or without support), standing alternate hip flexion and tiger balancing on front paws with support.
How does Wellen help with osteoporosis?
Exercise is one of the most effective ways to build and maintain bone throughout the lifespan. By incorporating weight-bearing, resistance, posture and balance exercises into a regular fitness routine, women with osteoporosis can help improve their bone density, prevent further bone loss, increase strength, and reduce the risk of falls and fractures. Wellen's customized exercise program provides a safe and effective fitness program that includes all of these exercises and tailors them to your current fitness level.
While Wellen is designed specifically for women with osteoporosis in mind, it is not the only way to build and maintain bone. Staying active with daily weight-bearing activities such as walking, carrying small grocery bags, going up and down stairs and even dancing, is the best complement to any exercise program.
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