Osteoporosis doesn't have to slow you down. With the right exercises, as well as lifestyle and nutrition changes, you can build strong bones and improve your overall health and wellness. In this article, we'll explore the best exercises for osteoporosis and how they can help improve your bone health. So, put on your workout clothes and let's get started.
Osteoporosis is a condition that affects bone health. It occurs when bones lose density and become fragile, leading to an increased risk of fractures. According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), this condition is most common in postmenopausal women and older men, but can affect anyone (NIAMS, 2022). The good news is that exercise and other lifestyle changes can help improve your bone health and reduce the risk of osteoporotic fractures.
The best exercises for osteoporosis: weight-bearing and resistance training
Weight-bearing exercises and activities are physical movements that require your body to support its own weight against gravity.These exercises are great for building strong bones because they put stress on the bones, stimulating the growth of new bone tissue. Some of the best weight-bearing exercises for people with osteoporosis include:
According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF), weight-bearing exercises are an effective way to improve bone density, reducing the risk of fractures, and improving overall health (IOF, n.d.).
Resistance training, or strength training, is also important for improving bone health. This type of exercise helps build muscle strength and improve balance, reducing the risk of fractures. Some of the best resistance training exercises for osteoporosis include:
For optimal results, aim to do 8-12 repetitions of each exercise, 2-3 times per week. You can use resistance bands, free weights, or simply use your own body weight. According to a study published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, resistance training has been shown to improve muscle strength and bone mineral density in people with osteoporosis (Watson, 2017).
Posture exercises: Improve postural muscle strength to benefit bones
Posture exercises are another important component of any bone-building workout because posture and alignment are important foundations for performing any weight-bearing, resistance or balance exercises. Posture refers to how you hold yourself during daily activities, both static and moving. Bad posture can lead to positions that put increased stress on your joints and bones. Sustained bad posture over time can lead to weakness and tightness in certain muscles, as well as a shifted center of gravity. This, in turn, can increase your risk of falls.
Some examples of posture exercises for osteoporosis include:
It is important to strengthen the muscles that help support good posture prior to adding any resistance or load to your exercises. If your posture is not good, you could be putting an increased and potentially harmful stress on your joints or bones, leading to pain, injury, and in the case of someone with osteoporosis, even vertebral compression fractures.
Balance exercises: Improve stability and reduce falls
Balance exercises are also important for people with osteoporosis. They help improve stability and reduce the risk of falls, which are a common cause of bone fractures. Tai chi is one of the best types of balance exercises. Studies have shown that tai chi can help reduce the risk of falls. This includes one study which found that participating in tai chi three times per week for 8 weeks reduced the risk of falls as well as the fear of falling in older adults (Mortazavi, 2018).
Nourishing your bones: The importance of calcium, vitamin D, and supplements
In addition to exercise, it is important to nourish your bones with a balanced diet that includes plenty of calcium and vitamin D. Calcium can be found in dairy products, leafy green vegetables, and some types of fish. Vitamin D can be obtained from sunlight exposure, fatty fish, and fortified foods.
If you have osteoporosis or are at risk of developing the condition, it is important to talk to your healthcare provider about getting enough of these important nutrients. According to the Bone Health and Osteoporosis Foundation, it can sometimes be difficult to get the right amount of vitamin D from food and sunlight alone. Both calcium and vitamin D supplements are commonly recommended for people with osteoporosis to help maintain strong bones and reduce the risk of fractures (BHOF, 2023). However, it is best to discuss supplements with your healthcare provider to determine if and which type of supplements are right for you, and to establish the correct dosage.
Starting a new routine?
Incorporating physical activity into your daily routine is essential for maintaining strong bones and reducing the risk of osteoporosis. Whether you enjoy weight-bearing exercises, resistance training, balance exercises, or a combination of all three, there is an exercise program out there that will work for you.
It is important to consult with your healthcare provider or a physical therapist before starting any new exercise program, especially if you have a history of osteoporosis or are at risk of developing the condition. They can help you create a personalized exercise plan that takes into account your health history, physical abilities, and goals.
In conclusion, exercise is a crucial component of maintaining strong bones and reducing the risk of osteoporosis. Incorporating weight-bearing, resistance training, posture and balance exercises into your routine can help improve your bone health and reduce the risk of fractures. Wellen’s workout program does just that. So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and get moving! Your future self will thank you.