Health & Fitness – Osteoporosis & Exercise

4-19-2013 3-01-12 PMOne of the best ways to strengthen your bones and prevent osteoporosis is by getting regular exercise. Even if you already have osteoporosis, exercise can help maintain the bone mass you have.

Why Exercise for Osteoporosis

When you exercise, you don’t just build muscle and endurance. You also build and maintain the amount and thickness of your bones. You may hear this called “bone mass and density.”

Three types of exercise for osteoporosis are:


Weight-bearing Exercise for Osteoporosis

Weight-bearing means your feet and legs support your body weight. A few examples of weight-bearing exercise for osteoporosis are:

Stair climbing

Biking and swimming are great for your heart and lungs, but these are not weight-bearing exercises for osteoporosis.

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Walking as little as three to five miles a week can help build your bone health. For general health, we recommend that everyone get at least half an hour of moderate to vigorous exercise five times a week. Forty-five minutes to an hour is even better.

Resistance Exercise for Osteoporosis

Resistance means you’re working against the weight of another object. Resistance helps with osteoporosis because it strengthens muscle and builds bone. Studies have shown that resistance exercise increases bone density and reduces the risk of fractures.

Resistance exercise for osteoporosis includes:

Free weights or weight machines
Resistance tubing (available in different shapes, sizes, and strengths)
Water exercises — any movement in the water makes your muscles work harder.

For best results, do resistance exercises two or three times a week. Make the exercise more challenging by gradually adding weight or repetitions. Work all your different muscles — including arms, chest, shoulders, legs, stomach, and back.

Flexibility Exercise for Osteoporosis

Flexibility is another important form of exercise for osteoporosis. Having flexible joints helps prevent injury.

Examples of flexibility exercise for osteoporosis include these:

Regular stretches
T’ai Chi

Whether you are older, already diagnosed with osteoporosis or osteopenia, or have never been physically active, many safe exercise programs are available. Talk to your doctor if you have concerns. Then look for a good exercise program for you by talking to a person fitness trainer, visiting a local fitness center, or trying classes at the Senior Center.

Janet Hunt is a Certified Personal Trainer and can be reached at 256-614-3530 to schedule an appointment.
By: Janet Hunt

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