Why do health experts recommend 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 health
professionals call this “bone mass and density.”
Three types of exercise for osteoporosis are:
All three types of exercise for osteoporosis are needed to
build healthy bones.
Weight-bearing Exercise for Osteoporosis
Weight-bearing means your feet and legs support your body’s weight. A few
examples of weight-bearing exercise for osteoporosis are:
- Stair climbing
Sports like bicycling and swimming are great for your heart and lungs.
However, these are not weight-bearing exercise for osteoporosis. That’s because
you are being held up by something other than your feet and legs, such as the
bicycle or the water.
Walking as little as three to five miles a week can help build your bone
health. For general health, most experts 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 at home or in the gym
Resistance tubing that comes in a variety of strengths
Water exercises -- any movement done in the water makes your muscles work
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. Be sure not to do resistance training on the same muscle group two
days in a row. Give each muscle group time to recover.
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:
Making Exercise for Osteoporosis Safe
Many people worry about the safety of exercise later in life. You may be
concerned if you already have osteoporosis or osteopenia. Perhaps you have
never been very physically active. Whatever your concern, you can choose from a
range of safe exercise options.
To ensure your safety during exercise for osteoporosis, keep these
guidelines in mind:
- Talk to your doctor
before beginning any exercise program. This is especially important if you know
you have bone loss or osteoporosis.
exercise does not have to be high impact. Running, jogging and jumping may put
stress on your spine. These high-impact activities may lead to fractures in
weakened bones. If you already have bone loss, choose gentler weight-bearing
exercise like walking, dancing, low-impact aerobics, and gardening.
- If you already have
osteoporosis, be careful of exercises that involve bending and twisting at the
waist. This motion can put you at risk of fracture. Exercises that involve
waist twisting include sit-ups, toe touches, and rowing machines. Golf, tennis,
bowling, and some yoga poses also include some twisting at the waist. Talk to
your doctor before choosing any of these activities.
SOURCES: National Osteoporosis Foundation: "Facts on Osteoporosis." The Mayo
Clinic: "Exercising with Osteoporosis: Stay Active the Safe Way." National
Osteoporosis Foundation: "Osteoporosis Prevention: Exercise for Healthy Bones."
WebMD.com: "Low-Cost Ways to Protect Your Bones."CDC: " Growing Stronger:
Strength Training for Older Adults." National Institute on Aging:
"Strength Exercises: A Guide." Engelke, K. Osteoporosis International,
January 2006; vol 17(1): pp 133-42.
Legal Disclaimer: This tool is for general information purposes only and
does not address individual circumstances. It may not be right for you and
should not be relied upon in making decisions about you health. Always consult
your doctor for medical advice.